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NGOs in dispute over engaging with Mugabe government
Patience Rusere, VOA News
October 30, 2006
organizations met Monday in an attempt to resolve a corrosive disagreement
over strategy with respect to the government of President Robert
Mugabe, which is proposing to create a human rights commission.
NGOs have been
trading insults in the media over the decision by some organizations
in civil society to cooperate with Harare in setting up the rights
commission. Critics say the government has shown scant respect for
human rights and that cooperating in the establishment of such a
commission is merely playing into Harare's hand.
Association of Non-Governmental Organizations members like the
Coalition on Debt and Development, the Women’s
Coalition and the National
Society for the Care of the Handicapped favor engaging the government.
Constitutional Assembly, the Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights and the Crisis
in Zimbabwe Coalition, among others, oppose cooperation.
Fambai Ngirande said his organization’s board intends to consult
with members the issue - but he acknowledged NANGO is under pressure
to pull out of discussions with the government. The board is expected
to announce its decision soon on whether it will continue working
or break off talks with the government.
The United Nations
Development Program, the lead U.N. agency in the country, has also
come under fire for encouraging NGOs to engage with the government.
Assembly spokesman Ernest Mudzengi said his group refuses to consider
talking with the government about a commission on human rights so
long as there continue to be what the NCA regards as government
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