Zimbabwe Slams False Accusations of Human Rights Violations

Delegation demands apology from African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights

by Motoni Olodun

Zimbabwe has strongly protested against the unverified claims of human rights violations made by a panelist of the Pan-African Lawyers Union (PALU) at the 77th session of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) in Arusha, Tanzania.

The PALU representative, who was speaking on Tuesday on the situation of enforced disappearances and elections in Africa, alleged that Zimbabwe had abducted and tortured several activists and opposition members before and after the 2023 harmonized elections.

Zimbabwe’s delegation, led by Permanent Secretary for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Mrs Vimbai Nyemba, rejected the allegations as baseless and unfounded. They said the ACHPR had failed to verify the facts and obtain relevant information from the concerned state before allowing the panelist to present his case study.

In a letter of formal complaint, the delegation said Zimbabwe was “deeply concerned and disappointed” by the ACHPR’s conduct, which violated its own rules of procedure and mandate. They said the ACHPR had also disregarded the pending final reports of election observer missions, including the joint by the African Union and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.

The delegation accused the ACHPR of spreading misinformation and propaganda against Zimbabwe and demanded it take immediate steps to address the issues. They asked for the ACHPR to pull down from its website all unproven allegations from the report on the panel discussions and issue a public statement disassociating itself from the assertions made.

They also requested a meeting with the Chairperson of the ACHPR, Honourable Remy Ngoy Lumbu, to express their displeasure at how their country was being treated.

The delegation reaffirmed Zimbabwe’s commitment to working with the ACHPR to promote and protect human rights but said they could not do so while the ACHPR was biased and unfair. They said Zimbabwe had timeously responded to all letters and communications of the ACHPR, and had respected its course of justice.

The letter also expressed concern over the late availability of documents on the ACHPR’s website, which made it impossible for delegations to prepare their interventions and participate effectively in the work of the ACHPR. They said this practice was unprofessional and disrespectful and undermined the credibility of the ACHPR.

The 77th session of the ACHPR started on October 20 and will end on November 9. The session is expected to review the human rights situation in Africa and adopt resolutions and recommendations on various issues.

Zimbabwe is not the only country that has faced accusations of human rights violations from civil society groups and international organizations. Other African countries such as Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Cameroon, Nigeria, Mali, Somalia, Congo, and Uganda have also been criticized for alleged abuses of civil and political rights, especially during elections and conflicts.

However, some African leaders have argued that these accusations are based on double standards and interference from external forces that seek to undermine their sovereignty and stability. They have called for more dialogue and cooperation among African states and institutions to address their common challenges and aspirations.

Zimbabwe Herald

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