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rights groups to resume talks on rights body
Hendricks Chizhanje, ZimOnline
February 27, 2007
HARARE – The
Zimbabwe government and local human rights groups are scheduled
to meet next month to resume discussions on the setting up of a
statutory human rights body in the country.
The United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP)’s Harare office is brokering the talks
that appeared to falter last year after non-governmental organisations
(NGOs) demanded that President Robert Mugabe’s government first
repeals repressive security and media laws before they could back
the move to set up the proposed National Human Rights Commission.
communiqué sent to human rights groups by the National Association
of NGOs advising them of the consultative meeting with government
appeared to suggest the rights movement’s attitude towards proposed
commission has not changed.
The NGOs association
wrote: “The National Human Rights Commission gravy train continues
to rumble in 2007 this time with the announcement of another UNDP
brokered civil society-Government of Zimbabwe consultative meeting
scheduled for March.”
There was no
immediate indication from the association whether human rights groups
will attend the March meeting while Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
was also not immediately available for comment on the matter.
But the government
has not repealed the Public
Order and Security Act and the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act that human rights
groups had said it should scrap from statute books before they could
has in recent days also intensified a crackdown against the political
opposition, arresting some of its leaders and banning it from holding
political meetings and protests.
Commission on Human and People’s Rights has in the past condemned
human rights abuses in Zimbabwe while major Western nations, donor
organisations and financial institutions have ostracised Harare
for its failure to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of
law – charges Mugabe and his government deny. - ZimOnline
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