WOZA Leaders Endure Filthy Cells

Williams and Mahlangu, who were charged with kidnapping and theft, were not brought to court on Thursday when the police took the other WOZA members to court.

However, prosecutors at Bulawayo Magistrates Court declined to prosecute the 10 WOZA members, who were charged with criminal nuisance, leading to their release on Thursday.

The 12 WOZA members were arrested on Wednesday as they peacefully staged a march in Bulawayo in observance of International Day of Peace, a day set aside by the United Nations and devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace around the world.

The police detention of WOZA members coincided with the 18th session of United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Right’s Dzimbabwe Chimbga on Wednesday updated participants on the current human rights situation obtaining in Zimbabwe. He also reviewed the long path that civil society has traversed since 2010 in preparing for the forthcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR.

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.

Zimbabwe’s compliance with its international obligations is scheduled to be scrutinised by the global community of nations on October 10, 2011. The government has produced its national report which it will present at the UPR session.

As has become the custom, Zimbabwe government representatives based in Geneva were in attendance to dispute presentations made and defend the government’s tainted human rights record in advance of the review.