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Statement on the overall human rights situation in Zimbabwe
Rights NGO Forum
Commissioners, the Secretary of the African Commission on Human
and Peoples’ Rights; heads of Government delegations, civil
society representatives, invited guests, ladies and gentlemen.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights
NGO Forum (the Forum) on behalf of other civil society organisations
in Zimbabwe welcomes the Government of Zimbabwe’s Organ on
National Healing, Truth and Reconciliation’s move to establish
a Code of Conduct for political parties that seeks to hold political
parties accountable for any violence or intimidation perpetrated
by their supporters. However, CSOs in Zimbabwe remain deeply concerned
about the continued existence of the infrastructure of violence
despite the endorsement of the Code of Conduct by the political
The Forum also notes
the progress made by the government during the intercession towards
advancing socio-economic rights by scrapping medical fees for expectant
and new mothers at rural clinics in a bid to reduce the country's
high maternal mortality rate. Other beneficiaries of the scrapping
of the fees are children under five years as well as adults aged
over 65 years.
the Forum however, is seriously concerned by the continued human
rights violations in the country. During the intercession, there
was an upsurge of attacks on legally established civil society organizations
by state authorities. Organisations that have been operating for
years, like Counseling
Services Unit, Zimbabwe
Peace Project, Zimbabwe
Election Support Network, Zimbabwe
Human Rights Association, have been subjected to arbitrary raids
and searches by police and some of the officers were arrested and
charged with frivolous charges. WOZA
has continued to be harassed despite a Supreme Court ruling protecting
their right to freedom of assembly and expression.
There has been
a blatant infringement on the right to access to information as
evidenced by the banning
and confiscation of shortwave radios by the police. The independent
commissions in the country are not operating as they should, the
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission is not yet operational, the Anti-Corruption
Commission is being prevented from carrying out their work with
two of the Commissioners having been arrested. The Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission refused to accredit CSOs to observe the referendum because
of their pending criminal investigations. Access to justice is being
stifled as evidenced by the arrest
of human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa while carrying out her statutorily
mandated duties to provide legal assistance to accused persons.
This is further aggravated by the government’s refusal to
comply with decisions of its own courts particularly when it applies
to the protection of fundamental rights.
Forum, on behalf of CSOs in Zimbabwe calls upon the Commission to
urge the Government of Zimbabwe to honor her obligations under the
African charter by:
1. Respecting the rule
2. Promoting and protecting the rights and freedoms as enshrined
in the Charter particularly freedoms of expression and association
through ensuring unrestricted operating space for civil society.
3. Putting an immediate end to the on-going harassment, persecution
and intimidation of human Rights Defenders.
4. Request a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe before the general
elections to investigate, verify and make recommendations on human
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Human Rights NGO Forum fact
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