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«L’OBSERVATOIRE EL OBSERVATORIO pour la Protection des Défenseurs para la Protección de los Defensores de des Droits de l’Homme Derechos Humanos ...»

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A weekly published in London, UK.

The Broadcasting Act requires the Broadcasting authority to advertise and invite applicants interested in opening up radio stations. Until studio with no signal transmission facilities. The products like audiovisuals facilitate dialogue and discussion on governance issues including elections, voter education and corruption, among others.

Because of its formation in 2002, around the same time MDC was formed, the Government highly suspected that Radio Dialogue was an instrument of the MDC. Further to this, the radio produced a documentary titled “A moment of madness”, which documented the 1980 “genocide” of the Matebele land people, allegedly orchestrated by ZANU-PF because of their lack of support for ZANU-PF37. Because of this, the radio station was raided in 2002 and its equipment stolen and vandalised.

Their forum theatre shows have at times been stopped or frustrated especially if the police felt that they were going to be inciting the public and giving the public “too much” information.

In 2007, Radio Dialogue prepared a film festival for the people in Bulawayo on issues of elections and governance.

Abruptly, the festival was blocked with the police claiming that such a festival could not be staged since the President Mugabe was expected in the area to officiate at an exhibition. The organisers had spent £ 10,000 to organise this event.

this is done, no one can apply for licensing.

It is alleged that over 100,000 people in Matebeleland were killed.


1. In view of this information, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders would like to

make the following recommendations to the Zimbabwean authorities:

• To guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of all human rights defenders in Zimbabwe;

• To put an end to any act of harassment against all human rights defenders in Zimbabwe;

• To guarantee, at all times, the freedoms of opinion and expression as well as the right to hold peaceful demonstrations and to political assembly, in compliance with the Zimbabwean Constitution and the international and regional instruments ratified by Zimbabwe and, notably the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR);

• To conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, Article 11 which reads that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to the lawful exercise of his or her occupation or profession” and Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

• To ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Zimbabwe.

2. Furthermore, the Government of Zimbabwe has mastered the use of pieces of legislation to indiscriminately and systematically violate the rights of human rights defenders. The use of repressive legislation selectively to restrict space for the enjoyment of freedoms of expression, association and assembly of human rights defenders by the Zimbabwean authorities is totally unacceptable in a democratic society.

The Observatory therefore urges the Zimbabwean Government:

• To evaluate its domestic legislation in order to bring them in conformity with international and regional human rights standards in so far as the legislation should allow for the full enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms.

• In particular, to repeal sections of the Public Order and Security Act, Access to information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Criminal Law (Law Reform and Codification) Act.

• To facilitate together with civil society organisations a Constitutional making process which is highly participatory and people centred in order to come up with a Constitution that is central to the protection of human rights of the citizens of Zimbabwe.

• To ratify the additional protocol of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and make the Declaration under Article 34.6 recognising direct access to the Court for victims and NGOs.

3. Most of perpetrators of human rights violations against human rights defenders have gone freely without trial or some cases have gone on forever with inordinate delays. The Government of Zimbabwe and its agents have also ignored and abused with impunity a number of Court orders and judgments that have been made by the judiciary in favour of petitioners on a number of human rights practices and abuse by the Government.

The Observatory thus calls upon the Government:

• To identify all State agents who have been implicated in the violations of human rights defenders’ rights, bring them before a civil competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the penal sanctions provided by the law.

• To bear equal responsibility for human rights violations committed by non-state actors especially when the state fails to apply due diligence to prevent, punish, investigate, or redress the harm caused by such nonstate actors who seem to operate with the acquiescence of the State.

• To refrain from undermining the independence and integrity of the judiciary while upholding the cardinal principle of separation of powers.

• To invite the Special Procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council to visit Zimbabwe.

4. The SADC Initiative has largely been a forum where civil society involvement has been limited or none at all. Given the centrality of civil society and especially human rights organisations in the governance and human rights context of Zimbabwe.

The Government of Zimbabwe President Mbeki and the SADC political leadership should therefore be called upon to involve non-state actors in this dialogue in order to ensure sustainable and a holistic solution to the crisis.

5. A number of the State agents and officials in these institutions mainly due to political pressure have acted contrary to their mandates of dispensing justice impartially.

The Observatory therefore calls upon the Government to:

• Restore and uphold the independence of these institutions as key human rights protection institutions.

• In particular, restore a professional Police service in order for the force to perform its functions of keeping law and order without any fear or favour and to answer to the law and constitution of the land and not political parties; to disband the Law and Order unit which operate under political instruction and without accountability as previously recommended by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights in 2004.

6. The March 29, 2008 harmonised Presidential and Parliamentary elections have not been greeted with a lot of enthusiasm by human rights defenders and political activists largely because they are seen as process full of flaws with very un-levelled playing field.

The Observatory thus urges the Government of Zimbabwe to:

• Act in a demonstrable manner through practicing tolerance while guaranteeing peace, security and protection of the law to everyone to open up the democratic space and allow for the people to effectively participate in the civic affairs of the nation so that confidence can be restored in elections as a viable method of selecting public officials.

• Open up access to the public media so that there is equitable access to the public media by all stakeholders.

• Allow civil society to be involved in an unimpeded manner in voter and civic education without risking further persecution.

• Restore a free media, which is essential for democracy.

7. The Observatory further urges the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR):

• To examine, at its next session in May 2008, the situation of human rights in Zimbabwe and to adopt a resolution denouncing the violations of Zimbabwe human rights defenders’ rights, in particular in the electoral context.

• To have a careful look at the current situation in Zimbabwe so as to observe the conditions of the electoral process and the human rights situation.

• The Observatory also calls upon the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa of the ACHPR to issue a public statement denouncing the harsh environment for human rights defenders in the run up to the forthcoming elections.

8. Moreover, the Observatory calls upon the African Union Peace and Security Council:

• To hold, without further delay, a meeting on Zimbabwe where Zimbabwean human rights defenders and international NGOs would be invited to present the situation of human rights in the context of the Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

9. Finally, the Observatory strongly urges the European Union (EU):

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