UN Secretary General Promotes Girls’ Education in Mozambique

Upon United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s trip to Mozambique, he was impressed with the progress in political development, but he points out that there needs to be more time and effort focused on overcoming human rights challenges. This particularly includes discrimination and violence against women, and he points out the important of equality and education in a country where half of all women are illiterate.

According to UN News Centre, Ban highlighted his UNiTE to end violence against women and girls campaign at his visit to the Samsão Muthemba secondary school in an effort to increase public knowledge and increase political resources to be put towards preventing and ending gender-based violence.

 “Violence against women and girls is a global pandemic,” Mr. Ban said. “We must change attitudes and behaviour.”

“Educating girls is essential to giving them better opportunities in life,” Mr. Ban said, noting that educated girls are less likely to marry young, get pregnant before they are ready, and more likely to earn an income and success as mothers.

UN Special Rapporteur Magdalena Sepúlveda went to Mozambique last month and expressed extreme concern for women, children, youth, older persons, and persons with disabilities in the country.

She added that despite “enormous progress” to establish peace and stability, Mozambique continues to be one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking 185 out of 187 according to the 2013 UNDP Human Development Report.

Ban stressed the importance of recognizing the link between rights, poverty and inequality to the National Human Rights Commission, referring to human rights as the “bedrock of development”.

He spoke along side Minister of Foreign Affairs Oldermiro Baloi to stress the importance of a success story of a country that can recover from conflict as an inspiration to the global community. Ban pointed out that Mozambique has been heading in that direction since the 1992 peace treaty with democracy, economic and social development and political stability.

 Mozambique’s post-independence 16-year civil war between the Government, led by the Liberation Front of Mozambique (FRELIMO) party, and the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) ended in October 1992 with the signing of the General Peace Agreement.

In support of the landmark peace agreement, Mr. Ban, joined by World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, will travel next to the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda. Mr. Ban is due to meet on 26 May in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the 11 signatories to the peace framework and the four guarantors who include Mr. Ban and Mr. Guebuza.