Network of African National Human Rights Institutions

Statement on the Human Rights in Zimbabwe

Statement of the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions on the Human Rights Situation in the Republic of Zimbabwe

Nairobi, Kenya
August 18, 2020

The Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI)1 is deeply concerned by the unfolding events and reports on alleged human rights violations in the Republic of Zimbabwe.

There are reports of alleged Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe (the Government) crackdown on critics who were planning protests on July 31, 2020 to express their objections to alleged corruption and weak policies adopted towards combating the economic crisis, which has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as demand for accountability from the Government.

The Network of African NHRIs is also gravely concerned by the reports of alleged torture and kidnappings, as well as arrests and detention of opposition leaders, activists and journalists who are reportedly accused of being behind the political upheaval in the country.

The Network of African NHRIs acknowledges that it is the role of the Government to maintain law and order, and that has to be done with a view of promoting and protecting the human rights, including the right to peacefully assemble and demonstrate, and the right to freedom of expression. NANHRI is of the view that the limitation of the enjoyment of such rights must be done, as provided for in the law while ensuring the principles of legality, proportionality, necessity and non-discrimination are upheld.

To this end, We, the members of the Network of African NHRIs call on the Government and concerned authorities of the Republic of Zimbabwe to take the following measures:

  1. To undertake thorough investigations, bring culprits to justice and release immediately the accused who have not been proven guilty;
  2. To work in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) in organizing a national multi-stakeholder consultative dialogue to address human rights issues and bring back national peace and stability.

We also call on the ZHRC to take the following measures:

  1. To continue monitoring the situation, engage with the government and other stakeholders to ensure the security agents do not act beyond the law;
  2. To draft reports on the development of the human rights situation in the country and make recommendations, whenever required, to the Government in line with the regional and international human rights standards; and
  3. To establish an early warning mechanism equipped with a response team to avert such events in the future.

Mohamed Fayek

NANHRI Chairperson