Africa Human Rights Day: Government urged to stop criminalising activists and CSOs

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By Thandiwe Garusa 

TOP rights lobby, Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) says there has been an ongoing criminalisation of activists as well as civic society organisations in Africa.

Commemorating the African Human Rights Day Friday, ZimRights said the whole continent has put rights mechanisms that are only strong in potential but not effective in curtailing violations.

It also said African governments seem more inclined to sabotage the human rights mechanisms rather than support them and this has resulted in the continent slowly becoming a hub of violent conflict and Africans losing confidence in Africa’s own human rights mechanisms.

ZimRights urged the Zimbabwean government to stop criminalising rights activists and organisations.

“ZimRights specifically encourages the government of Zimbabwe to halt the ongoing crusade aimed at criminalising human rights work by individual activists as well as by civil society groups, whose work is protected by the African Charter and Zimbabwe’s own constitution which protects fundamental freedoms of assembly, association and the right to protest.

“ZimRights encourages African people across the continent to continue organising around the human rights agenda and to push back the ongoing anti-rights tide on the continent as this is the spirit of the charter,” ZimRights said in a statement.

The rights advocacy also paid tribute to men and women across the continent who continue to put their lives on the line, thriving to bring to life the ideals embodied by the African Charter.

“There is no better way to commemorate the Africa Human Rights Day than to honour the men and women who are making it possible for millions of Africans to enjoy their human rights and who keep the hope of human rights alive,” added the statement.

Meanwhile, state sponsored violence, development induced displacements, disempowering economic policies that serve only the few have been on the rise in most African countries.