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must uphold its commitments
October 25, 2004
Federation of Health and Human Rights Organisations (IFHHRO) promotes
international cooperation for the protection and promotion of healthrelated
human rights. As such, the IFHHRO wishes to express its concern about
the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe with regard to human rights defenders
and the shrinking democratic space in which they must operate.
The IFHHRO shares
the view that the NonGovernmental Organisation Bill 2004 represents a
needlessly intrusive set of rules designed to outlaw certain organisations
and to criminalise fund-raising activities by their members.
The IFHHRO notes that
the government of Zimbabwe has already overseen the passage of suppressive
legislation such as the Public Order and Security Act (Posa), the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) and the Broadcasting
Services Act (BSA).
The most recent Amnesty
International report on Zimbabwe observed an escalation in state-sponsored
attacks on critics of the government, a clampdown on freedom of speech
and political manipulation of food aid by the ruling Zanu (PF).
situation is such that almost 80% of the population exists below the poverty
line and the national health system is so ravaged that wooden oxendrawn
carts have replaced ambulances.
The present climate
in Zimbabwe constitutes an axis of repression in which all human rights
civil, political, economic, social and cultural are undermined. Every
effort must be made to protect and promote the work of human rights defenders
and the nongovernmental organisations through which they work.
The IFHHRO supports
the peaceful responses of the nongovernmental organisations in Zimbabwe,
and the specific work of associations such as the Zimbabwe Association
of Doctors for Human Rights which, as an IFHHRO affiliate, shares our
mandate for the promotion of the right to health.
The IFHHRO calls on
the government of Zimbabwe to uphold its commitments to protect and promote
human rights under international and regional agreements.
In this regard, we
refer specifically to the Grand Bay (Mauritius) and Kigali declarations,
which recognise the role of human rights defenders, and Nepad, which emphasises
the importance of observance of human rights, good governance and the
rule of law as a basis for sustainable economic development.
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