Zim Parliament Speaker Urges Ratification Of Anti-Torture Laws

Moyo was speaking at the launch of the Zimbabwe Status Compliance with Human Rights Instruments Volume One report by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on Monday.

“Ratification of international laws and statutes will help in reducing incidences of torture and human rights violations that we continue to witness,” Moyo told Radio VOP on the sidelines of the occasion.

“Such ratification will ensure that we eliminate impunity as perpetrators will be bound by international laws.”

The report is an effort by ZLHR to promote the observance of human rights in the country.

Currently Zimbabwe does not have a law specifically targeted at torture crimes and has not yet ratified international statutes that act as a deterrent to such practises which are a common occurrence in Zimbabwe. Since 2000 several political activists have been tortured by
state security agents.

“For those human rights treaties that have not been domesticated,there is an urgent need for government to seriously consider domesticating them as they will protect the right to life of the citizens of Zimbabwe,” Moyo said.

In addition he decried the fact that parliament of Zimbabwe does not have the powers to compel the executive to bring before it international treaties and conventions for ratification.

Parliament is empowered to ratify all treaties and conventions under Section 111B of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“It is sad to note that Zimbabwe as a country has not done very well on the issue of compliance to regional and international treaties in particular those treaties that relate to human rights,” said Moyo.

Moyo of the Movement for Democratic Change led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai spoke as more reports of violence continues in the country.More than 200 of MDC supporters were killed during the controversial 2008 harmonised elections.

On Tuesday Zanu (PF) was accused of forcing widows, widowers of ex-detainees and ex-political prisoners in Matabeleland South province to register with the party in order to get maize seed, fertilizer and state assistance as the party gear up with its election campaign drive.

Officials from MDC accused Zanu-PF of distributing seed maize and other farm implements in that province on political lines and also dragging in wives and widowers of ex-detainees and ex-political prisoners to its structures.

Petros Mukwena, of the smaller MDC faction now headed by Welshman Ncube said the programme of forcing widows, widowers of ex-detainees and ex-political prisoners to join Zanu (PF) has been on-going since the beginning of the month.

Mukwena said Zanu (PF) is using chiefs and headman to coerce the widows and widowers to join the party under the guise of getting assistance.

“Zanu (PF) is targeting widows, widowers of ex-detainees and ex-political prisoners to register with the party. Zanu (PF) is saying that is the only way they can get state assistance,” Mukwena said in an interview with Radio VOP.

Zanu-PF Matabeleland South chairman, Andrew Langa confirmed in a telephone interview to Radio VOP that Zanu (PF) was registering widows and widowers of ex-political prisoners but denied that this is an election campaign strategy.

“That’s true…we are registering the wives and widowers of ex-political prisoners and ex-detainees. It’s not entirely a Zanu (PF) programme.”