“Call The Zim Govt To Order”: AU Urged
21 May 2021

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum has called on the African Union to call to order the Zimbabwean government’s stance to violates the basic principles of democracy and respect of human rights.

We publish below the fill statement by the Forum published in its latest bulletin:

The Forum appealed to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) to ensure the Government of Zimbabwe applies the basic tenants of democracy and respect for human rights in the country.

The appeal was made in a statement presented and read at the recently ended Virtual 68th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR).

The statement presented by the Forum highlighted several concerns of ongoing human rights to read violations in Zimbabwe. The Forum raised concern on the exploitation of COVID-19 regulations by the security services sector to effectively clamp down and restrict the constitutionally enshrined rights of citizens.

Between January and April 2021, 38 cases of assault and torture involving members of the
security sector have been recorded while 59 cases of arbitrary arrest are on record. “State security agents continue to be at the epicentre of incidents of arrest, torture, abduction and harassment of perceived opposition figures and dissenting voices. Notably, human rights
defenders, journalists and opposition party supporters remain the targeted recipients of
aggressive retributive justice, frequently under the guise of enforcing COVID-19 regulations,” noted the Forum.

“A systematic culture of impunity and lack of political will to address these injustices has
resulted in an increase in incidents of organised violence and torture with 938 cases of organised violence and torture being recorded by the Forum in 2020.”

The suspension of election under the guise of COVID-19 was also flagged out as a blatant
violation of the citizens’ right to representation. The statement referred to the successful holding of elections in Tanzania and Malawi under strict adherence to COVID-19 measures as regional examples that Zimbabwe should follow if the authorities are sincere about upholding democracy and respect for human rights.

“The Forum is concerned with the continued exclusion and disenfranchisement of citizens
from representation through electoral processes, particularly as at least 35 parliamentary seats and 165 local council seats are currently vacant.

Whilst the Forum commends the resumption of voter registration and some field work by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the continued suspension of by-elections denies citizens representation.”

Other subjects on concern raised with the Commission include imminent threats to civic space through draconian laws; pending constitutional amendments deemed undemocratic and the misuse of the justice system to silence dissenting voices.