ITUC – Africa dismisses Zim government’s human rights report to ACHPR

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By Alois Vinga

ZIMBABWE government’s report to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) apprising the continental organ on the improvements made to date on human rights issues is a misrepresentation of the situation on the ground, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Africa has said.

The continental organisation, which represents 56 national trade union federations with a total membership of 15 million workers from 45 countries, made the remarks in commentary addressed to ACPHR chairperson.

“We wish to reiterate the position raised by the Zimbabwean Civil Society Community that it was not consulted to participate and contribute to the development of this Government report as provided for by the reporting conditions set out by this Commission,” ITU-Africa said.

The continental labour organ said government’s exclusion of key incidents on rights abuses as “deliberate and reflective of the current state of intolerance to critical voices and non-state actors with dissenting opinions even when such opinions and suggestions are intended to improve the situation of the rights of Zimbabweans.”

The report, whose copy is in our possession, was prepared in response to observations made by the ACHPR on its fact-finding mission 2006 visit.

Part of the submissions made by government are that Zimbabwe Republic Police members are overwhelmingly equipped with human rights knowledge enabling them to deal with members of the public ethically.

“So far we have trained 30 000 police officers on human rights since January 2014. In 2018 alone, 45 584 police details were trained in human rights including an additional 7 220 who have been trained to date,” Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told the Commission.

Government said the events associated with August 1 killings were not sanctioned by the State and as such, must never be classified as “an act of extra judicial killings” as has been alleged by some international media forums.

Ziyambi said: “Zimbabwe judiciary has been consistent in the condemnation of the practices of torture. This point is made clear in the celebrated case of State versus Jestina Mukoko where the judiciary reiterated that no person should be subjected to physical or psychological torture, or to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Government’s report claims efforts have been made to guarantee freedoms of expression and assembly following the recent repealing of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

He also highlighted that it has now become the norm to carry out public consultations prior the implementation of policies and laws affecting the people.

However, ITUC-Africa dismissed most of the details submitted by government arguing they contradict the exact situation obtaining in the embattled Southern Africa nation.

“Chairperson, we desire that this Commission extract a genuine commitment from the Zimbabwean government to a follow-up process necessary for the attainment of the effective implementation of the outstanding issues contained in the state report.

“We desire to ensure that Zimbabwe returns to the path of normalcy, stability and progress. We are committed to genuinely partner our government and other stakeholders towards this task,” the labour confederation said.