Honorable Chairperson, Commissioners; Heads of Government; civil society representatives; ladies and gentlemen.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum) welcomes the opportunity to address you on the human rights situation in Zimbabwe at a time when Zimbabwe is on the Commission Agenda.
The human rights situation in Zimbabwe has continued to deteriorate since the last inter – session.
Honourable chairperson, we are presenting this statement against the background of the recent visit by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom to Peaceful Assembly and Association in September. The Special Rapporteur in his preliminary findings raised concerns over the human rights situation in Zimbabwe that impacts on the enjoyment of freedoms of assembly and association by the citizens.
Violations of fundamental rights and freedoms remain worrisome. Systematic targeting of human rights defenders including trade union leaders, artistes perceived to be critical to government and opposition political leaders, through judicial harassment, abductions, torture, hate speech, have been on the increase. Section 22 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act on “subverting a constitutional government” has been widely used to persecute human rights defenders, civil society and opposition leaders for exercising their freedoms of assembly and association.
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