Zim violates African Rights Charter

There are growing concerns that Zimbabwe is unwilling to comply with the African Charter on human rights. The country’s reports to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights are long overdue, and there is general lack of political will in the promotion and protection of human rights, according to human rights defenders.

The Zimbabwean can reveal that Zimbabwe, which ratified the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on May 30 1986, has submitted only three reports.

Rights defenders have released a damning report on the human rights situation, saying peaceful protestors were victimised during United Nations World Peace day in September. This clampdown culminated in a spate of arbitrary arrests and unwarranted detentions which in some cases have been followed by prosecution.

The report says the security of journalists and even citizens is a major concern with rampant violations of the right to freedom of expression.

"Laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Broadcasting Services Act, Criminal Codification and Reform Act continue to be applied with citizens being caught up in this onslaught. Of particular concern, the inclusive government has rejected some recommendations made by other member states of the United Nations General Assembly calling upon it to repeal draconian laws and amend and reform administrative practices that violate the right to freedom of expression," the report says.

The conditions of prisons remains a concern, as well as the treatment of women and the failure of the police to uphold the right of citizens and protect them from executive excesses.

Rights defenders urged the government to take urgent measures to evaluate their shortcomings and reform legislative and other administrative frameworks to ensure that the rights enshrined in the African Charter are enjoyed by all citizens.

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