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UN under fire over Zimbabwe soldiers


The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) yesterday called on the United Nations to stop using Zimbabwe’s uniformed forces in peacekeeping missions, saying they did not qualify for such assignments because of their human rights record.

The call came amid reports that Zimbabwe is preparing to deploy peacekeepers to Syria following a UN request. Zimbabwean soldiers have also been deployed to various peacekeeping missions across the world over the years.

“These are the same uniformed forces that have a well-proven track record in violent tendencies and they are the instruments that have been used to suppress any voice of dissent amongst innocent citizens,” ZCTU secretary-general Japhet Moyo said.

“We have always wondered what peace these uniformed forces can keep in other countries when they are the same forces that brutally terrorise their own people back home.”

The labour body said it was important to first educate the forces on human rights issues as recommended by the International Labour Organisation’s Commission of Inquiry recently, before considering them for such missions.

This, ZCTU says, was after the commission established that Zimbabwe’s uniformed forces had been used to commit human and trade union rights violations.

Moyo went on to attack the UN, saying the world body was double-faced.

“We are tempted to accuse the United Nations of double standards because, on the other hand, through its various agencies, it has denounced the heavy-handedness of Zimbabwe’s uniformed forces, but, on the other hand, they continue to make use of them,” he said.

“These moves by the United Nations defy logic.”

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