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Stockholm: Skyline International strongly condemns the silence exhibited by leaders from Southern African countries in the face of alarming abuses taking place in Mozambique.

Leaders from across Southern Africa convened in Angola's capital, Luanda, this week to address various regional issues, including the ongoing military mission in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado region. This mission aims to counter the heinous acts perpetrated by the Islamic State-linked armed group Al-Shabaab, as well as by Mozambican military forces.

Since 2021, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has deployed thousands of soldiers from its member countries to assist the Mozambican government in its efforts to combat these armed groups. While these regional troops have been credited with enhancing the security of towns, facilitating the delivery of crucial humanitarian aid, and aiding the return of displaced populations to their homes, the disturbing truth of their involvement in abuses, particularly the mistreatment of deceased individuals, cannot be ignored.

In January, a video surfaced on social media platforms depicting South African soldiers callously disposing of a corpse onto a pile of burning rubble, seemingly accompanied by other lifeless bodies. Such actions flagrantly violate international humanitarian law, which expressly prohibits the desecration and mishandling of the deceased. SADC leaders were quick to denounce the actions captured in the video and pledged to conduct an investigation. Regrettably, it has been eight months since then, and the findings of this inquiry by the regional organization remain undisclosed.

During the recent summit in Luanda, SADC leaders sanctioned a one-year extension of the Mozambique mission. However, their conspicuous silence on the matter of addressing potential future misconduct by their troops raises serious concerns about their commitment to upholding human rights and justice.

Skyline International urges SADC member states to recognize and fulfill their international legal obligations. These obligations demand the investigation and accountability for alleged war crimes committed by their armed forces, as well as the assurance of transparency and justice for human rights violations linked to their military intervention in Mozambique. It is incumbent upon them to take proactive measures, beginning with the immediate release of the investigation's findings concerning their troops' misconduct. Furthermore, we call upon these leaders to actively collaborate with Mozambican authorities in conducting thorough investigations into all allegations of wrongdoing and providing redress for the victims.

Skyline International remains steadfast in its commitment to advocating for the protection of human rights and the pursuit of justice, and calls on Southern African leaders to demonstrate their commitment to these principles through decisive action and a resolute rejection of silence in the face of abuses.