Defiant Chinamasa Rejects Human Rights Remedies

Speaking during the consideration of the adoption of the Zimbabwe National Report on Wednesday, a representative of the troika within the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) said the government delegation led by Justice and Legal Minister Patrick Chinamasa had only accepted 81 recommendations out of 177.

The troika representation said the government undertook to consider the remaining 31 recommendations which it will advise whether these will be taken up at the next session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) scheduled for March next year.

The UPR is a unique human rights mechanism of the UNHRC aimed at improving the human rights situation on the ground in each of the UN Member States. Under this mechanism, the human rights situation of all UN member States is reviewed every 4 years. At each of its meetings the Council devotes much of its time to consideration of country reports from the process of review in which every UN member State has agreed to participate.

Early this month, a coalition of 27 local and influential civil society organisations (CSO)’s convicted the government for failing a human rights appraisal.

The CSO’s including the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said the coalition government has failed to implement its own declared objectives on key issues like human rights, ending torture, freedom of expression and assembly, relations with labour and trade unions other commitments.

According to the Advocacy Charter, which was prepared by local civil society organisations in relation to the government’s National Report, Zimbabwe has not ratified all the outstanding human rights treaties and their Optional Protocols such the United Nations Convention Against Torture, Cruel or Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons Against Enforced Disappearances.

The government has also not ratified the Optional Protocols to Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic Social Cultural Rights and the Convention Rights of the Child.

The CSO’s noted that although the government had created commissions on human rights, the media, anti-corruption and elections no measures were put in place to ensure that the legislative framework for the independent commissions comply with the international norms and standards and to address human rights abuses which were committed over the last four years.