Urgent Interventions

Mozambique: Arbitrary arrest, physical attacks, and subsequent release of Sheila Wilson

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MOZ 001 / 0624 / OBS 022
Arbitrary arrest / Restrictions on freedom of expression
June 7, 2024

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention on the following situation in Mozambique.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed of the arbitrary arrest and physical attacks, and subsequent release of Sheila Wilson, women’s rights defender and journalist working at the communication and advocacy department of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights (Centro para Democracia e Direitos Humanos, CDD), a member organisation of FIDH.

On June 4, 2024, Sheila Wilson was violently attacked and abducted by the Mozambican Police (PRM) in Maputo, the capital city. At the time of the abduction, Sheila Wilson was doing a live broadcast on the official Facebook page of CDD’s Executive Director, Prof. Adriano Nuvunga. According to the information received, it was possible to hear the journalist screaming for help during the live broadcast, until she was taken away by the Police to the 4th police station in Maputo city in a police car. She was subsequently released hours later the same day, on June 4, 2024, without any charge against her, although the police officially seized her smartphone. After her release, Sheila Wilson had bruises on some parts of her body, resulting from minor injuries sustained when she was thrown under the seat of the police car. At the time of publication of this Urgent Alert, the police has not yet provided a justification for Sheila Wilson’s arbitrary arrest and the seizure of her mobile phone.

The broadcast during which she was arrested addressed the issue of the treatment of former agents of the National Service of Popular Security (SNASP) who protested for a week in front of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) premises in Maputo. The former agents were demobilised under the General Peace Agreement of Rome, with the intervention of the United Nations, but they didn’t receive compensation for demobilisation for over 20 years. On the night of June 3, 2024, the police was mobilised to forcefully evict the former SNASP agents from the site, an action that caused riots and led part of the group to take refuge inside the UNDP building to escape police violence.

The Observatory recalls that many attacks or arbitrary detentions against civil society, activists and journalists, perpetrated by security officers or government officials, were reported in recent years in Mozambique. As the Observatory and the Mozambique Human Rights Defenders Network (RMDDH) stated in a report dating from October 2023, the restriction of civic space in Mozambique has been accelerating, hindering the freedom of association and assembly as well as the freedom of expression and freedom of the press. To name a few examples, in October 2022, journalist Arlindo Chissale was arrested by police officers, and accused of being an “insurgent” and collecting information for terrorist acts. On January 18, 2019, journalist Germano Daniel Adriano was arrested without court order while covering the armed violence in the province of Cabo Delgado, before being released on bail on April 23, 2019.

The Observatory strongly condemns the arbitrary arrest and detention of Sheila Wilson, which only appear to be aimed at restricting her freedom of expression and hindering her legitimate human rights activities.

The Observatory calls on the Mozambican authorities to put an end to any act of violence and harassment, including at the judicial level, and any act of intimidation against Sheila Wilson, as well as against all human rights defenders in the country. The Observatory also calls on the Mozambican authorities to guarantee in all circumstances the freedom of expression as enshrined in international human rights law, and in particular Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Mozambique is a party.

Action required:

The Observatory kindly requests that you write to the Mozambican authorities asking them to:

1. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Sheila Wilson and all human rights defenders in Mozambique;

2. Put an end to all acts of physical and moral violence against Sheila Wilson and all other human rights defenders in Mozambique;

3. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including judicial harassment - against Sheila Wilson and all other human rights defenders in Mozambique;

4. Ensure strict respect for fundamental freedoms and in particular to guarantee in all circumstances respect of the freedom of expression, including the freedom of the press, as guaranteed by international human rights law, in particular by Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Mozambique is a state party;

5. Ensure that human rights defenders - including journalists - are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities in all circumstances, without hindrance or fear of reprisal.


  • President of the Republic of Mozambique, Mr. Filipe Nyusi, Twitter: @filipe_nyusi
  • Minister of Justice, Constitutional and Religious Affairs, Ms. Helena Kida. Email: , Twitter: @KidaHelena
  • Minister of Interior, Pascoal Pedro João Ronda M. Email:
  • Provedor de Justiça, Mr. Isaque Chande, Email : , Twitter : @DoJustica
  • President of the National Commission of Human Rights, Mr. Albachir Macassar. Email:
  • H.E. Mr. Geraldo Gonçalves Miguel Saranga, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Mission of the Republic of Mozambique to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Email :

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Mozambique in your respective countries.


Paris-Geneva, June 7, 2024

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

  • E-mail:
  • Tel FIDH: + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18
  • Tel OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39