Published On: Tue, Nov 22nd, 2016

ZIMBABWE’s insincerity in upholding human rights record has been exposed

ZIMBABWE’s insincerity in upholding human rights record has been exposed – a human rights watchdog said – hardly a month after government committed itself to improving the country’s human rights situation during the recent United Nation’s Human Rights Council periodic review meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

 The country’s human rights situation came under the spotlight during the review meeting on fundamental rights, where Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who doubles up as Justice Minister, represented the government.

Mnangagwa said the government was committed to improving the country’s human rights situation, even claiming that state security organs were working with the family of abducted activist, Itai Dzamara, to locate him.

The ZimRights, a local human rights watchdog, however said Mnangagwa lied, arguing events of the past few days showed that government is not committed to upholding the rule of law, and improving the country’s tainted human rights record.

“As long as there is no investigation done into the rampant acts of abductions and torture of well-known human rights activists, there can be no doubt that Zimbabwe’s commitment to human rights remains questionable, in doubt and greatly at stake as well as in need of rectification.

“What is clear is that Zimbabwe’s human rights violations are not stopping, but continuing in clear disregard of the concerns of the country’s peers in the United Nations community,” the ZimRights said in a statement on Tuesday.

The human rights watchdog was making reference to the abduction and torture of activists such as Itai’s brother, Patson, on Friday ahead of the anti-bond notes protest.

Several other activists, Advocate Fadzai Mahere, Mudiwa Mahere, Pastor Phillip Mugadza, Henry Munangatire, Barry Rowlings, Sean Mullens, Talent Chademana, Thobekile Ncube and Nyasha Mushandu were also arrested at Africa Unity Square as police sought to quell a citizen protest against the unpopular surrogate currency.

“Zimbabwe’s human rights record regarding torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and enforced disappearances as well as non-ratification of treaties, regarding eradication of the same malpractices remains worrisome.

“This is also given the fact that these are some of the issues for which recommendations were made by the UN Human Rights Council’s periodic review,” the ZimRights added, urging government “to stop the victimisation of human rights defenders, to uphold the rule of law and honour all the country’s human rights commitments.”

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