Human Rights Commission dismissed as gimmick

HARARE - Human rights bodies, the genuine ones, have dismissed plans by the Zanu (PF) administration to set up a self-styled human rights commission as a public relations gimmick and probably also an attempt to muzzle NGOs.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said the commission woul


d be a “white elephant” unless, among other things, the regime’s raft of laws preventing freedom of speech and assembly are repealed. “To establish a human rights commission in the prevailing legislative and administrative operating environment without corresponding and simultaneous changes to the current repressive laws is tantamount to deception,” the lawyers said. Similarly, Zimrights said the commission would be a “toothless institution,” and that a proposal that civil society bodies should affiliate to it “is most likely being steered by the government’s desire to muzzle and reign in NGOs.” “The establishment of a human rights commission should be for the promotion and defence of people’s rights and freedoms and not as a public relations gimmick to spruce up the battered image of the government,” said Zimrights in a statement. Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum reported more than 1,000 cases of human rights violations during February – a sharp increase because of arrests at demonstrations by women, students and the National Constitutional Assembly. Police also assaulted demonstrators.- Own Correspondent



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