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Report on MMPZ’s participation in the 53rd Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Banjul, The Gambia
The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
April 26, 2013

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This year’s Forum on the participation of NGOs as well as the Ordinary session of the ACHPR were held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel from the 9th to the 23rd of April 2013. The African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS), which is an independent non-governmental pan-African organization, established in The Gambia in 1989, planned these. However some civic society organizations, mostly from West Africa boycotted this event citing concerns over the continuing human rights abuses by the host country. The sessions were however held regardless. The NGO Forum was held from the April 6th to April 8th 2013 and was followed by the ACHPR conference, which was held from the 9th to the 23rd of April. Public sessions ended on the 14th of April.

The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ) representative Molly Chimhanda attended both these events.

Other representatives from Zimbabwean civil society who attended both meetings were Susan Mutambasere from the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Jacqueline Chikakano (MISA-Zimbabwe), Patience Zirima from the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ), Dzimbabwe Chimbga, Belinda Chinowawa from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and Primrose Mungwari from the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA). The state delegates from Zimbabwe who attended the ACHPR conference included the Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Maxwell Ranga and Mrs Mabel Msika (Director, Policy and Research Ministry of Justice).

Seeing as Zimbabwe is headed towards an election, Zimbabwean CSOs held a meeting prior to the session and agreed on lobbying points. These included:

  • Informing the Commission about the major political processes that took place and are to take place in Zimbabwe, that is the Constitutional Referendum and pending Elections
  • Highlighting concerns over the shrinking space for CSOs in Zimbabwe following the continued arrests and detention of human rights defenders since the beginning of 2013.
  • The need for the protection of the right to information following the confiscation of radio sets by the police.

As an organisation MMPZ sought to:

  • Lobby and inform the Commission on and of the state of freedom of expression and information rights in Zimbabwe;
  • To work in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum and other CSOs to address other issues of human rights concerns in Zimbabwe.
  • Making the organisation and its activities public at a regional and international level by networking with different members from different organisations such as human rights institutions, NGOs, commissioners and state delegates both from Zimbabwe and international states.
  • Urging the human rights commission to look at the problems Zimbabwe has been facing particularly the lack of political will by the government to implement the internationally recognised standards of issues to do with access to information and freedom of expression.

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