We react with strong indignation at the illegal deportation of our World March of Women sister, Eva Anadón Moreno, from Maputo, Mozambique to Madrid, Spanish State on 30th March. Eva is a Spanish national and has been legally residing in Mozambique for many years, collaborating with women’s organisations and – for over two years – as part of the International Secretariat of our allied international, feminist movement, the World March of Women.
On 18th March 2016 the World March of Women (WMW) organised a public action with street theatre in Maputo to protest against the Mozambican Ministry of Education’s decision to oblige girl students to wear ankle-length skirts to secondary schools in Maputo to “avoid provoking their male professors”, and thereby blaming girl students for the sexual violence they are often subject to. Before the intervention had even started, the police arrived and tried to forcibly remove the intervention placards (that were not yet being held up by protesters). When that failed they resorted to physical force against the few dozen activists, and pointed their weapons at the them (many of whom were young women and girls) causing panic, and aggressively arrested five activists, including Eva and Suzete, another member of the WMW International Secretariat team.
All five activists were held in a police station for over six hours, while trying to divide them politically along racial lines and using verbal aggression to intimidate them, claiming that it was the two arrested foreign national women who were behind the street intervention. One of them was forced to speak to the press. They were only released after pressure from activists mobilised outside the police station and intervention from civil society and UN organisations. No proof of any crime had been presented against any of them.
On 29th March, Eva was surprised at her home by Mozambican immigration authorities who detained her and took her to the airport around 1:00pm. She was illegally detained until around midnight when she was released due to pressure from activists camped outside the airport, a group of lawyers, and several human rights organisations’ representatives. But on the morning of 30th March, Eva was once again taken forcibly from her home and illegally deported to Madrid, via Dubai. She was accompanied by a Mozambican policeman.
We denounce the aggressive treatment of all women and girl activists at the public action, and the violation of human rights perpetrated by Mozambican police in threatening them with their weapons. We denounce the illegal and aggressive arrest of five activists, and their illegal detention for over six hours, sometimes handcuffed, in a cell at the police station. We denounce the tactics used by the police to try and divide them politically and the racist assumption that it was the foreign national women who “lead” the protest. We denounce the forceful and illegal arrest of Eva Anandón Moreno on 29th March, her illegal detention for over 10 hours at Maputo airport, and her illegal deportation on 30th March. Furthermore, we denounce the political instrumentalisation of this case on the part of the Mozambique authorities, and the clear attempt to intimidate social movements and to criminalise legal protest and civil society mobilisation.
We stand in solidarity with Eva herself, with the other four activists illegally arrested on the 18th March, with all the women and girl activists subjected to arbitrary and sexist violence on the 18th March, and with our allied movement, the World March of Women, who are determined to fight back against all forms of sexist, patriarchal, racist violence in Mozambique, on the African continent, and around the world.
Friends of the Earth International
Friends of the Earth Mozambique