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Zimbabwe's human rights report appalling
in Zimbabwe Coalition
October 11, 2011
Zimbabwe yesterday presented its human rights report at the ongoing
UN Human Rights Council's 12th session of the Universal Periodic
Review in Geneva. The report prepared by the Ministry of Justice,
Parliamentary and legal affairs and presented by Patrick Chinamasa
paints a rosy picture of the human rights situation in Zimbabwe
and is starkly different from what is taking place in Zimbabwe.
Torture, harassment and politically motivated persecutions of human
rights defenders and perceived opponents have persisted, while villagers
in many parts of the country have suffered ceaseless intimidation
by supporters of the former ruling party, ZANU PF.
The most blatant
imprecision contained in the report is the issue of state sponsored
violence which the report states as false. Chinamasa claims that
the judiciary is independent, the army and police are partisan.
Instead the reality on the ground is the human rights situation
is worsening day by day at the hands of state security agents following
an escalation of threats, intimidation and harassment against people
perceived to be against Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF party. Once
again state security agents continue to be at the forefront o perpetrating
vi0olence and torture in innocent civilians.
The report also
claims that Zimbabwe's Constitution
guarantees the protection against inhuman and degrading treatment
and that the country has incorporated the rights to a fair trial
and access to justice in the legal system. However on the ground,
there are pending cases of innocent political activists and human
rights defenders on trumped up charges as a result of delays in
court hearings and judicial abuse.
highlighted that an independent Zimbabwe Media Commission has been
set up to ensure furtherance of human rights. He also cited that
the government opened up communication platforms through the licensing
of commercial radio broadcasting services and satellite based subscription
services. In reality, no independent commercial radio licenses have
been issued and there has been no movement at all on issuing community
radio licenses. It's now five months since the Broadcasting
Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) called for applications for two commercial
radio licenses out of fifteen applications.
indicated that the Public
Order and Security Act (POSA) Amendment Bill is an adequate
tool to regulate political meetings and is reasonably sufficient
in a democratic setting to allow for freedom of association. Chinamasa
says there are no intentions to amend AIPPA
because it is standard the world over and those rights are not absolute
but need to be checked in line with national security and public
safety concerns. In August this year, Chinamasa caused the premature
end to the debate on the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) Amendment
Bill in the Senate where he misguided legislators that the matter
was being negotiated as part of the Global
Political Agreement outstanding issues.
calls upon the principals of the Global Political Agreement to fulfill
their promise of reform state institutions, in a bid to end human
rights violations that have continued unabated since the formation
of the unity government two and half years in February 2009.
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