Minister of Justice, Constitutional and Religious Affairs of Mozambique visits IOM Legal Identity Project in Pemba, Cabo Delgado

10 February 2023 Pemba – During a visit to Cabo Delgado, Mozambican Minister of Justice, Constitutional and Religious Affairs, Helena Mateus Kida visited the Legal Identity activities conducted by the Ministry and supported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with U.S. Agency for International Development's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) funding. The activities are part of a programme that started in 2022, aiming to provide birth certificates and ID cards to over 90,000 individuals from displaced and host communities in Cabo Delgado, Nampula and Niassa provinces. 

According to the United Nations Economic Commission from Africa (UNECA), only 55% of people have a birth certificate and only 34% own an ID card in Mozambique. The low rate of civil registration has been exacerbated by the conflict in the northern provinces of the country over the past 5 years, which has caused the internal displacement of more than 1 million people (IOM DTM Mobility Tracking Assessment Report 17, November 2022). Most physical archives of legal identity documents in the affected areas have been destroyed by attacks of Non-State Armed Groups (NSAGs), while hundreds of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have lost their civil documentation during displacement. This situation poses a risk to already vulnerable populations, exposing them to further challenges such as restricted freedom of movement, family separation, discrimination, Gender-Based Violence or risk of statelessness, as well as hindering their access to basic services, among others. 

To reconstitute these archives and enable the displaced population and host communities to obtain civil documentation, the Ministry of Justice Constitutional and Religious Affairs (MJCR) in collaboration with IOM, aims to register 90,000 people by September 2023. This initiative will be possible through IOM's support for the deployment and operation of mobile brigades for the issuance of civil documentation, as well as the provision of equipment and capacity building for the personnel of the MJCR and the Ministry of Interior (MINT). This intervention is the continuation of the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO)-funded Legal Identity activities conducted in 2022, through which birth certificates were provided to more than 7,650 individuals from the displaced and host communities in Balama district, Cabo Delgado. 

“IOM works with the Government of Mozambique, and in collaboration with the United Nations Legal Identity Agenda, to provide civil documentations to IDP and host communities in the country. In this role, IOM provides leadership on the nexus between migration, displacement, and Legal Identity, ensuring the protection of migrants and access to basic services. As well, access to legal identity is one of the 8 conditions for IDPs to achieve durable solutions. These aspects are at the very core of IOM Legal Identity Strategy, launched in May 2022, and are in line with the Global Compact for Migration and the 2030 Agenda”, said Dr. Laura Tomm-Bonde, IOM Chief of Mission in Mozambique. 

Among the key achievements on the Legal Identity Agenda in 2022, the first Regional Legal Identity Conference for the Member States of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) was hosted by IOM in Maputo. This conference initiated a conversation among 16 countries from the SADC region about the importance of Legal Identity in the context of Global Mobility and Border Management, its challenges and potential for facilitating migration and promoting trade in the region, while safeguarding the rights of migrants, IDPs and other citizens. 

The partnership of IOM and the Mozambican MJCR facilitated the presentation of Mozambique's progress on Legal Identity activities in occasion of the 77th United Nations General Assembly on “Legal Identity as an Enabler of Sustainable Development”, discussing challenges, methodologies, and opportunities for the delivery of birth certificates in displacement contexts, in September 2022. Moreover, in December 2022, the Mozambican MJCR presented the challenges related to legal identity in humanitarian settings at the 6th Border Management and Identity Conference hosted by IOM in Bangkok. 

IOM's work in Legal Identity is closely aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – Target 16.9 – “Legal Identity for all, including birth registration, by 2030”, and is further reinforced by the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) – Objective 4 – “Ensure that all migrants have proof of legal identity and adequate documentation”.  

All IOM interventions on Legal Identity are framed under the UN Legal Identity Agenda (UNLIA) Task Force in Mozambique. 


For more information, please contact: 
Maria Toro at IOM Mozambique, Tel: +258 841201126, Email: 

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