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Declaration on Zimbabwe
African Civil Society Forum 2007
March 24, 2007

1. TAKES NOTE with appreciation that the African Union (AU) through the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights and the United Nations (UN) through the Special Envoy on Human Settlements Anah Tibaijuka have made fact finding missions on the situation of human rights in Zimbabwe and made adverse findings of systematic violations of human rights by the government of Zimbabwe and come up with recommendations to assist the state party of Zimbabwe to stop human rights violations and assist her to comply with her obligations in terms of international human rights standards.


  • The government of Zimbabwe continues with its path of systematic and sustained violations of human rights in particular unleashing organized violence and torture targeting human rights defenders and legitimate political opponents for silencing;
  • The Zimbabwean government has failed to create a stable macro-economic environment which has resulted in untold suffering for the ordinary people of Zimbabwe and a serious humanitarian catastrophe; and
  • The situation in Zimbabwe represents a significant threat to national and regional peace if not urgently addressed.


3.1. The SADC, AU, the UN assist Zimbabwe to ensure that it fully complies with the AU Human Rights recommendations that remains outstanding in the following respects:

1. On National Dialogue and Reconciliation where Zimbabwe needs to accept "mediators and reconcilers who are dedicated to promoting dialogue and better understanding" and free society from the shackles of control;
2. On Creating an Environment Conducive to Democracy and Human Rights where inter-alia the government "should abide by the judgements of the Supreme [and other] Courts and repeal sections of the Access to Information Act, calculated to freeze the free expression of public opinion and The Public Order and Security Act";
3. Having Independent National Institutions in terms of which the Government of Zimbabwe was urged to establish independent and credible national institutions that monitor and prevent human rights violations, corruptions and maladministration" such as an Independent Electoral Supervisory Commission;
4. Restoring The Independence of the Judiciary including attending to conditions of service to protect them from political pressure; transparent and fair appointments to the bench; protection of presiding officers; complying with judicial orders;
5. Restoring A Professional Police Service through non-politicisation of the police service and making the police serve the Constitution and enforce the law without any fear or favour; disbanding the law and order unit which operates under political instructions and without accountability; and removing the youth militia from policing; and
6. Restoring a Free Media "essential for democracy."

3.2. The SADC, AU, the UN assist Zimbabwe to ensure that it fully complies with the recommendations of the UN Special Envoy who investigated the forced evictions (operation Murambatsvina) and observed that:
"The unplanned and over-zealous manner in which the Operation was carried out has unleashed chaos and untold human suffering. It has created a state of emergency as tens of thousands of families and vulnerable women and children are left in the open without protection from the elements, without access to adequate water and sanitation or health care, and without food security. Such conditions are clearly life-threatening. In human settlements terms, the Operation has rendered over half a million people, previously housed in so-called substandard dwellings, either homeless or living with friends and relatives in overcrowded and health-threatening conditions. In economic terms, the Operation has destroyed and seriously disrupted the livelihoods of millions of people who were coping, however poorly, with the consequences of a prolonged economic crisis. Politically, the Operation has exacerbated an already tense and polarized climate characterized by mistrust and fear. It has resulted in a virtual breakdown in dialogue between different spheres of Government, between Government and civil society, and once again put Zimbabwe in the limelight of international scrutiny. Efficiently executed in a militaristic manner, Operation Restore Order provides clear indications that the Government of Zimbabwe has the wherewithal to implement policies at a lightning speed when it has the political will." The ACSF notes that the recommendations that are outstanding include that:

  • The government of Zimbabwe embarks on a sustainable reconstruction and rehabilitation effort, and to bring to account those who have acted, or caused others to act, with impunity and outside the framework of international and national law;
  • The Government of Zimbabwe to facilitate humanitarian operations within a pro-poor, gender-sensitive policy framework;
  • The Government of Zimbabwe should grant full citizenship to those former migrant workers and their descendants who have no such legal status. Mostly people of Malawian, Zambian and Mozambican origin, they are among the most vulnerable and adversely affected group. This group comprises every third person found sleeping out in the open;
  • The Government of Zimbabwe disregard of laws and court orders during the Fast Track land reform programme set a bad precedent. The Government of Zimbabwe should set a good example and adhere to the rule of law before it can credibly ask its citizens to do the same;
  • The need to restore judicial independence after a "regrettable failure of some members of the Bench to remain independent from the national and local politics of the day"; and
  • The strong recommendation of the Special Envoy that the culprits who have caused this man-made disaster be brought to justice under Zimbabwean national laws. The international community would then continue to be engaged with the human rights record in Zimbabwe.

Dated at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this 24 day of March 2007

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