topleft
topright
UPR of Zimbabwe: concerns over Public Order and Security Act
Tuesday, 18 October 2011 12:02

 

On 10 October 2011, the Working Group on the UPR examined the human rights situation in Zimbabwe. The delegation was led by Mr Patrick A. Chinamasa, Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs. In his introductory statement Mr Chinamasa stated that Zimbabwe’s lack of development was caused by the sanctions implemented on the country by the European Union (EU), the United States (US) and the Commonwealth. This view was shared by eight other countries (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Namibia, Venezuela, Cuba, China, Chad, and Malaysia). States suggested that Zimbabwe should implement its reformed educational and health care policies. Additionally, the country was asked to review the Public Order and Security Act due to the restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly caused by this law. The dialogue also covered issues such as the alleged forced evictions of land-owners, the lack of investigations undertaken into police violence, and the situation of workers in the diamond fields of the Marange region. 

 

Specific recommendations, questions, and comments focused on the following issues:

  • Calls to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Recommendations to review the Public Order and Security Act and its consequences for freedom of expression and assembly.
  • Calls to persevere with and improve the plan for national appeasement and reconciliation.
  • Requests to conduct investigations into all cases of alleged police violence.
  • Requests to respect standing invitations issued to all UN special rapporteurs (especially the UN Rapporteur on Torture) and make them operational.
  • Recommendations to put more effort into achieving the goals of the Global Political Agreement (Zimbabwean reform agreement to prevent a recurrence of the violence that broke out during the last elections).
  • Calls to abolish the death penalty.
  • Calls to review conditions in prisons.
  • Recommendations to address domestic violence.
  • Calls to provide the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission with adequate funds and authority to work properly and bring it in line with the Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions (the Paris Principles).
  • Recommendations to review the role of the military in the diamond fields.
  • Recommendations to increase the living standards of workers in the diamond fields.
  • Requests to seek more international assistance to combat HIV/AIDS.
  • Recommendations to improve the health care, social security, and education systems, in particular to provide easier access for vulnerable groups.
  • Requests to ensure that human rights defenders are able to carry out their legitimate work in safety, without repercussions for themselves or their families.

The delegation from Zimbabwe responded to some of the recommendations during the session. Concerning the problems with the Public Order and Security Act, the delegation stated that the Act was needed to adequately respond to protests incited by NGOs and protesters paid for by ‘Western countries’. The delegation also said that human rights defenders were allowed to conduct their work as long as they did not breach the law. The restrictions that many States assumed to exist on freedom of speech and assembly  were in fact not in evidence, and the new Constitution, Mr Chinamasa said, would protect all these rights. With respect to the concerns raised about the living conditions of workers in the diamond fields, the delegation stated that new barracks were being built, and that the military was only present to supervise this situation. Finally, the delegation was convinced that their legislation is fair and based on the interests of the population.

 

Of recommendations made, Zimbabwe accepted 81, rejected 67, and 31 left pending for consideration in time for the 19th session of the Council in March 2012. The delegation stated that they were rejecting the recommendations made by ‘Western’ States due to their alleged colonialist attitude and because they are based on allegations of human rights violations in Zimbabwe which the delegation refused to accept as true. Finally, the delegation demanded the lifting of sanctions if Zimbabwe was to be able to develop further.

 
© by The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) 2017