Hurisa calls for Zim human rights abuses investigation


The African Commission on Human Rights and People’s Rights (ACHPR) has been called upon to investigate torture and other human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, including the latest police ban of May Day celebrations in some parts of the country.

Last week, police banned marches to commemorate May Day in Mutare and Kwekwe citing security reasons.

In a statement to the 49th session of the ACHPR that began last week, the Human Rights Institute of Southern Africa (Hurisa) called on the continental rights body to act to end impunity and human rights violations in Zimbabwe.

“The African commission’s special rapportuers on freedom of expression, access to information and torture should be called upon to investigate cases of torture and harassment in Zimbabwe,” read the statement.

The Mthwakazi Liberation Front, which is calling for the secession of the Matabeleland region from the whole of Zimbabwe, last month dragged President Robert Mugabe and his government to the ACHPR over arrests and harassment of its members.

President Mugabe, who controls the security establishment and the judiciary, has clamped down on civil society and dissent in general, banning several public meetings and marches by groups he fears could provoke mass uprisings similar to the protests in North Africa.

Hurisa said the general breakdown of the rule of law in Zimbabwe had made it difficult to access justice or enforce judgments, in particular those against the State.

“It has since become difficult to enforce judgments in Zimbabwe. An example is the judgment of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Tribunal, declaring Mugabe’s land reform programme racist and illegal, but which the Zimbabwean leader has refused to implement,” read the statement.

The regional non-governmental organisation said draconian pieces of legislation continue to shrink the democratic space impinging on Zimbabweans’ right to freedom of expression, assembly and association.

Two weeks ago, the Sadc Tribunal’s review report upheld an earlier ruling condemning Zimbabwe’s land reform programme and ordered that the bloc’s rulings were supreme over domestic laws and constitutions.

The report also reiterated that all decisions made by the tribunal court were binding and enforceable within all member states.