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New Constitution-making process - Index of articles
of fundamental freedoms undermining credibility of constitution
arrest and detention as well as violence against human rights and
political activists risk undermining the credibility of Zimbabwe's
just started constitution
making process, led by the Constitutional Parliamentary Select
in the unity government should respect and protect the rights to
freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly and ensure
that everybody has unfettered access to COPAC outreach meetings.
Amnesty International also urges Zimbabwe's security agents to strictly
observe Article XIII of the Global
Political Agreement, which requires state organs and institutions
to be impartial in the discharge of their duties.
calls follow reports of arbitrary arrest and detention, and beatings
of civil society monitors working under the Independent Constitution
Monitoring Project, which is jointly run by the Zimbabwe
Election Support Network, Zimbabwe
Peace Project and Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights.
On Sunday 27 June, three
civil society monitors, Paul Nechishanu, Artwel Katandika and Shingairayi
Garira were taken by ZANU-PF supporters to Scarffel Farm in Makonde
district (Mashonaland West province) and beaten with logs. Garira
sustained injuries to his eardrum while Nechishanu and Katandika
suffered head injuries. The attackers also took the monitors' mobile
phones and money. Two of the phones were later returned to them
by the ZANU-PF supporters.
of the monitors follows the arrest of another team of monitors -
Godfrey Nyarota and Tapiwa Mavherevhedze, and their driver Cornelius
Chengu - by police in Mutare on 24 June. The three activists were
at Mukunu North Primary School in Mutare North constituency, monitoring
the on-going constitution making process. They were charged under
Section 81(3) of the Access
to Information and protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) for practicing
journalism without accreditation. They were released on $20 bail
and remanded to 9 July. Reports indicate that the police arrested
the three monitors in Mutare at the instigation of a well known
ZANU-PF activist and a member of the Zimbabwe National Liberation
War Veteran Association.
Another activist in Mutare,
Enddy Ziyera, the provincial coordinator of the independent monitoring
project, was detained for several hours and released without charge
on 25 June after bringing food for the three activists in detention.
Again on 25 June, in Marondera (Mashonaland East province), three
Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC-T) activists, Rodreck Shamu, Themba Musimara and another man
only identified as Mukunyaidze were taken by unidentified state
security agents. They were later found detained at Marondera police
station and are yet to be charged.
Consultations for a new
constitution are provided for under Article VI of Zimbabwe's Global
Political Agreement (GPA) which explicitly states 'the fundamental
right and duty of the Zimbabwean people to make a constitution by
themselves and for themselves' and provides for the people of Zimbabwe
'to hold such public hearings and such consultations as it may deem
necessary in the process of public consultation over the making
of a new constitution for Zimbabwe.'
Over the past
six months, Amnesty International has been receiving reports of
intimidation in rural areas where villagers were threatened with
violence if they do not support ZANU-PF's position on the new constitution.
Initially, the threats were meant to intimidate villagers into endorsing
the heavily criticized Kariba draft constitution. The Kariba
draft constitution, which was agreed in 2007 by the former ruling
party ZANU-PF and the two formations of the MDC without public consultation,
has been strongly criticized by civil society organizations as an
attempt by the parties to impose a constitution on the population.
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