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NANGO condemns torture, violence and brutal attacks
National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations in Zimbabwe (NANGO)
March 22, 2007

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The National Association of Non Governmental Organizations (NANGO) representing over 1000 Non Governmental Organizations operating in Zimbabwe unequivocally condemns the recent spate of human rights violations in events surrounding the Save Zimbabwe Prayer Rally. In particular, NANGO notes with concern the excessive use of force on unarmed civilians, the harassment, torture and brutal attacks on civil society and opposition leaders and their subsequent.

NANGO reiterates that the state should be the principle guarantor and custodian of human rights with an obligation to respect and enforce people’s rights.

NANGO acknowledges that the recent incidences have occurred against the backdrop of a politically, socially and economically volatile situation characterized by high levels of poverty and inequality, militarisation of state functions, de-legitimisation of civil society initiatives, disenfranchisement of the electorate, economic recession and reduced capacities for social service delivery. The volatility of the Zimbabwean political economy is clearly a breeding ground for civil unrest.

Given the prevailing environment, the civil society sector then finds it difficul to participate in the formation of the National Human Rights Commission. NANGO therefore reaffirms that the respect of human rights is the first step that should form the basis of establishing the National Human Rights Commission in Zimbabwe.

NANGO thus urges the Government of Zimbabwe to tangibly display the political will to address the longstanding issues that militate against the protection and promotion of human rights. These issues include wholesale constitutional reform, lifting the ban on political rallies and gatherings, repeal of repressive pieces of legislation, safeguarding the independence of the judiciary and the elimination of impunity.

NANGO strongly calls upon the government of Zimbabwe to revert to its commitments to uphold international human rights norms and practices. In particular, NANGO calls upon the Government of Zimbabwe:

  • To ensure that the rule of law prevails and that citizens are legally protected from arbitrary and capricious by various state parties
  • To remove the legislative and other impediments to the enjoyment of the freedom of association, assembly and expression of opinion
  • To make the government officials responsible for the human rights abuses accountable to citizens for their actions through a fair and transparent process.

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