Human Rights in Zimbabwe One Year into the Government of National Unity (GNU) – Time to Ratify Conventions

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum) calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to ratify the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and the International Convention on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Zimbabwe has a protracted and infamous history of gross human rights violations. Violence, enforced disappearances, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment has become endemic in Zimbabwe particularly, around major political events like elections and referendums. The Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed between the three political parties on 15 September 2008 acknowledges these challenges. The principals to the agreement recognized the multiple threats to the well-being of the people of Zimbabwe, the polarisation, divisions, conflict and intolerance that
characterised the socio-political environment in the past and undertook to take effective measures to stop, remedy and ensure non-recurrence of these violations. In Article XVIII (5) of the GPA, the parties committed themselves to inter alia “promote the values and practices of tolerance, respect, non-violence and dialogue as a means of resolving
political differences.” This provision reaffirms a determination expressed in the preamble to “act in a manner that demonstrates respect for the democratic values of justice, fairness, openness, tolerance, equality, respect of all persons and human rights”. Given the commitment and determination shown by the parties to the GPA to reform the human right culture in the country, the Forum is of the opinion that a first step towards this would be the signing and ratification of all international human rights instruments. In particular the Forum implores the GNU to ratify the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and the Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Wherefore a year after the inception of the GNU the Forum urges the inclusive government to ratify these Covenants as a demonstration of its determination and commitment to building a culture of human rights as envisaged in the GPA.

Design and development supported by HURIDOCS.