Today, Mr. Lloyd Kuveya, the Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum will address the UPR-Info Pre-Session in Geneva on the key human rights issues in Zimbabwe ahead of the review of Zimbabwe’s human rights record by the United Natitions Human Rights Council (HRC). The review due to take place on 2 November 2016, is conducted under Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a mechanism of the HRC aimed at improving the human rights situation on the ground of each of the 193 United Nations (UN) Member States. Zimbabwe was last reviewed in 2011 and several recommendations were made by the UN member states.
The UPR Info Pre-sessions bring together Permanent Missions in Geneva, National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to discuss the human rights situation of states undergoing review one month prior to their review. The Pre-sessions offer UN member states the opportunity to be informed on the human rights developments and the status of implementation of recommendations made during the previous review of the respective states.
Zimbabwean civil society organisations have been following the process under the leadership of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations and the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. As Zimbabwe prepares for the second review, civil society has raised a number of issues that need to be addressed to improve the human rights situations. The briefing by Mr Kuvheya at the UPR Info Session today will emphasise on the need for government to respect, promote and protect human rights and in particular calling upon the government to:
- Ratify the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) and its optional protocol and provide timelines towards implementing the process of ratification or accession.
- Domesticate UNCAT through the enactment of anti-torture legislation;
- Invite the UN Special Rapporteur Against torture to conduct a visit and carry out independent investigations on allegations of torture in Zimbabwe.
- Establish an independent oversight mechanism to investigate the conduct and criminal offences by law enforcement officers.
- Prohibit corporal punishment as a form of sentence or punishment.
- Establish a mechanism to ensure that monetary damages granted by courts in cases of torture are executable and honoured.
- Enact laws and mechanisms to protect human rights defenders.