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Zimbabwe violates domestic and International human rights norms
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
February 22, 2007

The decision by the government of Zimbabwe to ban rallies and demonstrations in Mbare and Harare South for an effective 3 months following the spate of state-orchestrated violence that rocked Highfield on Sunday has confirmed the determination by President Robert Mugabe’s regime to violate both domestic and international democratic norms for political expedience.

On October 24 2006 in an interview with ZimOnline, the Minister of Home Affairs, Kembo Mohadi threatened to ban opposition rallies. The government justified its decision by citing  Section 27 of the Public Order and Security Act which reads: "If a regulating authority for any area believes on reasonable grounds that the powers conferred by sections 25 and 26 will not be sufficient to prevent public disorder being occasioned by the holding of public demonstrations or any class thereof in the area or any part thereof, he may issue an order prohibiting, for a specified period not exceeding one month, the holding of all public demonstrations or any class of public demonstrations in the area or part thereof concerned."

The Coalition condemns the banning of rallies and demonstration as an affront to the provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which Zimbabwe is a state party.

Section 21(1) of Constitution states that,’ Except with his own consent or by way of parental discipline, no person shall be hindered in his freedom of assembly and association, that is to say, his right to assemble freely and associate with other persons and in particular to form or belong to political parties or trade unions or other associations for the protection of his interests.’

Moreover, Article 20 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (1948) to which Zimbabwe is a signatory, clearly points out that, ‘everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association’

While it is understood that the exercise of these rights have restrictions, it is important to note that in the Zimbabwean scenario and contrary to the restrictions provided in both domestic and international law, the government of Zimbabwe remains the chief architect of promoting lawlessness, disorder, public violence and immorality against law abiding citizens exercising their freedoms within the confines of the law.

In the view of the Coalition, the banning of peaceful protests and gatherings will not resolve the crisis in the country but a return to democratic legitimacy where civil and political rights are respected by any incumbent government.

Visit the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition fact sheet

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