Human Rights defender in Mozambique finds a voice

Danilo da Silva Mussagy, a human rights defender from Mozambique, says, “what motivated me to work with victims of discrimination was a feeling of injustice, and also witnessing human rights violations against sexual minorities.”

Human rights defender in Mozambique works to end discrimination © OHCHRHe says that although it can be difficult at times, being a human rights defender has given him a sense of gratification, because he has  given a face  to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals and intersexuals (LGBTI) living in Mozambique.  He has used his own personal experience to help educate and fight for the rights of individuals who have faced discrimination on the basis of their sex or sexual orientation.

In October 2006, he says he initiated a movement called “Lambda,” which works on behalf of LGBTI. For the first time, he and others were able to speak about homosexuality and defend those discriminated against based on their sex or sexual orientation. On that day, he found his voice and felt reborn, he says.

He says, “One of my greatest challenges has been to explain to people that they need to fight for their rights, and I am not speaking just about the rights of homosexuals,   but all rights, those of women and children, and persons living with disabilities and HIV. We cannot remain silent in the face of injustice.”

Principles of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation are founded in international human rights law, including regional instruments such as the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

The OHCHR Regional Office for Southern Africa has joined the government of Mozambique, the UNCT and several non-governmental organisations, including Lambda, in their efforts to set up an independent national Human Rights Commission in Mozambique.

 5 January 2011