The 39th International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) Congress, meeting in Johannesburg, has expressed its solidarity and its support with human rights defenders in Zimbabwe.
In a statement issued on Friday, the FIDH says the Zimbabwean government persistently invokes vague and broadly-defined “national security” provisions in the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) through giving flimsy and unsubstantiated grounds for barring public demonstrations in order to silence dissent, human rights defenders and ordinary citizens who simply take part in peaceful demonstrations.
The FIDH has condemned the violence endured by civic society leaders such as Promise Mkhwananzi and Stern Zvorwadza of Tajamuka/Sesjikile social pressure group where they have either been assaulted brutally or arrested on flimsy charges of public violence under legislation which criminalises freedom of assembly, such as the Criminal Law Code.
“The police continue to systematically use violence to unlawfully disperse High Court sanctioned demonstrations, with impunity and disregard of the law and human rights.”
It notes the recent events witnessed in Harare over the past few days and those being witnessed on Friday, in the face of a major demonstration by citizens gathering under the banner of National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) where the Police deploy brute force to crush dissent and peaceful demonstrations.
The congress says Zimbabwe has failed to uphold the civil and political liberties provided for in its very own people-driven Constitution and has called upon Zimbabwe to “immediately and unconditionally stop all forms of violence against the citizens who are participating in the legitimate and peaceful exercise of their Constitutional fundamental human rights to demonstrate, associate, assemble and express themselves.”
The FIDH has also called on Southern African Development Community (SADC) 36th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government meeting in Mbabane, Swaziland on the 30th – 31st August 201 to insist that Zimbabwe upholds its obligations to respect fulfil and protect the human rights of its citizens.
The FIDH lauded the people of Zimbabwe for being vibrant and dynamic and for fighting for the respect of universal human rights.