Grilling in Gambia

gambiaAt its 38th ordinary session, the African Commission is debating the report by It's fact-finding mission which exposes the unwillingness of the government and its agencies to comply with recommendations, especially on national dialogue and reconciliation. The report says it is manifestly evident tha

t, instead of attempting to implement the recommendations in order to create an environment conducive to freedom of expression in Zimbabwe, the government has strengthened repressive laws and taken action that has had exactly the opposite effect. There have been five high-profile cases in which various arms of government, including the executive, three ministries, a statutory body, local authorities and the police, have failed to comply with court orders, the report says. These include the refusal to issue a licence to The Daily News and its sister Sunday newspaper, the deportation of journalist Andrew Meldrum in defiance of a court order and the rejection of an Electoral Court ruling nullifying the results of the nomination court for the Roy Bennett Chimanimani constituency case. AIPPA remains operational and continues to be implemented in a selective manner to stifle the free dissemination of information and free speech within Zimbabwe, especially through the private media, the report says. The Constitutional Amendment (No 17) Act passed recently makes wide-ranging intrusions into basic human rights guaranteed under the constitution of Zimbabwe, as well as various international human rights instruments to which Zimbabwe is party. Although the commission is largely a toothless bulldog, analysts say the fact that it is seriously debating Zimbabwe is a positive signal and will help to raise international awareness. Meanwhile Zimbabwes National Association of NGOs (NANGO) has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute government officials responsible for the country’s controversial urban clean-up campaign five months ago. UN special envoy Anna Tibaijuka, also the director of UN-HABITAT, labelled Operation Murambatsvina a “breach of both national and international human rights law provisions guiding evictions”. NANGO wants Tibaijuka’s report to be implemented, and the perpetrators brought to book. The ICC, unlike the International Court of Justice, can try individuals and investigate crimes, such as drug trafficking and genocide, referred to it by governments as well as the UN Security Council.

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