ISHR and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights call on the Zimbabwean Government to improve the situation of human rights defenders and align domestic laws with international human rights instruments and protections guaranteed in the Constitution.
In a statement presented to the Human Rights Council earlier today, ISHR and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights expressed grave concern regarding the continued targeting of human rights defenders by State actors in Zimbabwe.
The call came during the adoption of recommendations made to Zimbabwe as part of its second Universal Periodic Review - a mechanism pursuant to which each UN Member States’ human rights situation is examined by all other UN Member States every five years.
The statement expressed concern about the hundreds of defenders in Zimbabwe currently facing prosecution following their arrest for exercising their rights to freedom of assembly and association between May and November 2016. ‘Not only are these defenders still awaiting the finalisation of their trials, but the right to freedom of association remains under serious threat due to the imposition of additional legal requirements,’ said ISHR Programme Coordinator and Legal Counsel Tess McEvoy.
‘It is deplorable that the Zimbabwean Government continues to restrict defenders’ rights, particularly in the context of the 2013 Constitution which enshrines the rights to freedom of assembly and expression’, McEvoy continued. ‘To add to existing restrictions, the Government is currently drafting a Cyber Crimes Bill which, if passed, will further curtail the right to freedom of expression and privacy; and will further impede the work of defenders.’
The statement urged the Government of Zimbabwe to:
These recommendations echoed those set out in a briefing paper prepared by the ISHR, in conjunction with Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Lawyers for Lawyers, Zimbabwe, as a submission to Zimbabwe's Universal Periodic Review.
Watch the statement live here.
For further information please contact ISHR's Tess McEvoy, firstname.lastname@example.org.