Maputo — Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Thursday condemned "abominable" acts of violence against women, and called on all Mozambicans to respect women.
Speaking in Maputo at the opening session of the Second National Conference on Women and Gender, Guebuza said that violence scars women in body and soul, and can disable or kill them.
"These are acts which shock society, and leave people of good will perplexed, for they can find no reason to justify this lack of respect for women and their role", he added.
Guebuza described women as "the guarantors of the continuation of humanity, the fundamental pillar of the family and of society, and an inexhaustible source of teaching and of life experiences for new and future generations".
There could be no such thing as human rights without observing the rights of women, he stressed. "Violence against women is a violation of women's rights, and thus an affront to the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights", he declared.
Guebuza said that while advances had been made since independence in 1975, there were still countless obstacles to be overcome in safeguarding and respecting the rights of women. He hoped that this conference would lead to stepping up the struggle against domestic violence, and would encourage more women and girls to continue their education and training to higher levels.
"We don't want any woman to become resigned to her fate and declare 'I'm going to die like this !', because each Mozambican, man or woman, should act as part of the generation of the turning point, and struggle to change their social and economic condition", he said.
The National Conference coincides with the official launch of both the African Women's Decade and the African Campaign against Violence against Women and Girls.
The African Women's Decade, Guebuza said, "seeks to speed up the achievement of gender equality, though implementing the main undertakings given by the continent".
"These are principles and noble objectives that are reflected in our governance, seeking to end poverty in Mozambique", he added. "For women, who account for more than half our population, must play a role of great importance in this struggle".
The conference, taking under the slogan "united for social justice, gender equality and socio-economic empowerment" is attended by 220 delegates from all of Mozambique's 11 provinces.