Zimbabwean NGOs express concern over continued human rights violations

misaThe Zimbabwe NGO Human Rights Forum on 14 May 2010, raised concern over the continued human rights violations a year into the formation of the countrys inclusive government.

In a statement presented to the 47th session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, Zimbabwe NGO Human Rights Forum representative, Blessing Gorejena-Chinawa depicted the general human rights violations in Zimbabwe.

She informed the commission that whilst the Global Political Agreement the (GPA) expresses noble intentions to promote human rights there continues to be harassment, intimidation and victimisation of human rights defenders in the course of their legitimate work.

The Global Political Agreement in its preamble states the determination by the principals to act in a manner that demonstrates respect for the democratic values of justice, fairness, openness, tolerance, equality, respect of all the persons and human rights.

Gorejena-Chinawa cited the recent arrest of ZimRights Director, Okay Machisa for organising a photographic exhibition of the 2008 election violence, the arrest and detention of visual artist Owen Maseko for staging a gallery exhibition depicting Gukurahundi atrocities which took place during the 1980s and the victimisation of Agriculture plantations Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) director, Gertude Hambira for producing a documentary and report on the violence that surrounded the land reform process.

Zimbabwe NGO Human Rights Forum stated also the continued violations of the right to freedom of expression noting that; Access to information and freedom of expression and assembly, remain heavily restricted, with the state controlled media still chanting hate speech.

The forum further stated the governments lack of political will and capacity to enact meaningful changes to human rights situation in Zimbabwe; citing the governments failure to investigate the alleged human rights violations carried out by state security agents in the run up to the June 2008 run-off election as an indicator.

In response to concerns over the issue of past election violence, Zimbabwean government representative, David Mangota dismissed the issues stating that they had been discussed before the commission and it would be an abuse of the commissions time to discuss them again.

The forum called upon the Commission to urge the government of Zimbabwe to;

Take steps to ensure the protection human rights as enshrined in the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights in Zimbabwe

Investigate past human rights violations in Zimbabwe

End the continued harassment of Human Rights Defenders

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