BY METHEMBE SIBANDA
THE United Nations (UN) report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of Zimbabwe says the country has failed to explain alleged human rights abuses and enforced disappearances.
The UN reviewed Zimbabwe’s human rights situation on January 12, 2022, through a troika comprising Armenia, Luxembourg and Namibia that was set up to facilitate Zimbabwe’s review process.
A list of questions, that were prepared in advance by Belgium, Germany, Liechtenstein, Panama, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland and the United States, were transmitted to Zimbabwe through the troika.
Some of the issues raised included oppressive pieces of legislation, such as the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill which is currently being crafted in Parliament.
NGOs view it as oppressive because it seeks to ban their operations and to keep them mum on human rights abuses, lack of transparency and accountability in the use of public resources.
But government has argued that the amendments to the PVOs Bill seek to ensure greater transparency and consistency in the registration and regulation of private voluntary organisations, and were the product of extensive research and multi-stakeholder consultations.
On disappearances of persons, Zimbabwe is said to have failed to give a reasonable response, with the police continuously saying they were providing fortnightly reports on investigations of, for example, the disappearance of activist-cum-journalist Itai Dzamara in 2015.
“The police were also investigating the disappearances of Patrick Nabanyama and Paul Chizuze (opposition activists),” the report read.
On the recall of opposition Members of Parliament and councillors, the report said government explanation was that it was initiated by opposition political parties due to their internal disputes.
The report said during the interactive dialogue, France and Germany expressed concern over arbitrary arrests and persecution of members of the opposition and civic society activists in the country.
“Netherlands expressed concern about legislative amendments that would curtail civic space, while the UK expressed concern about restrictions on the freedom of assembly, the harassment of journalists, members of the opposition, and civil society actors, and constitutional amendments that risked reducing judicial independence,” the report read.
Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi yesterday declined to comment on issues raised in the report.
“I have not seen the report. Let me first look for it and go through it, and then comment after reading it” Ziyambi said.
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