BY STAFF REPORTER
ZIMBABWE’s human groups have implored the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) to investigate human rights violations at its ongoing session.
The 71st edition of the ACHPR session began on April 21 and ends on May 13.
In their submissions, the civic groups under Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum (NGO Forum) said the commission must probe why the government is railroading repressive laws to further curtail the rights of Zimbabweans.
The government also plans to push through the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Amendment Bill to regulate the operations of civic groups, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other independent trusts.
“We submit that any amendments to the PVO Act should give effect to key principles of the 2013 constitution that outline founding values and principles of good governance, transparency and accountability, recognises rights and freedoms of assembly and association, facilitates interrelationships between state institutions and civil society, grants protection and recognition guarantees for civic society organisations (CSOs) and ensures registration and operational autonomy for CSOs for them to carry out their critical watchdog role,” the NGO Forum submitted.
“Whilst legal measures to safeguard against terrorist financing are welcome, the actual provisions of the PVO Amendment Bill are not proportionate.
“Less restrictive measures currently exist in other legislation to ensure that purposes related to combating money laundering and terrorist financing are achieved without undue restrictions on CSOs.”
Yesterday, the Zanu PF youth league said the laws were long overdue to silence civic groups that it described as unpatriotic and pushing a regime change agenda.
Civic groups have been in the forefront exposing human rights abuses, corruption and misgovernance under President Emmerson Mnangagwa amid concerns of a shrinking democratic space.
“It is regrettable that the government has invested the much-needed resources into repression instead of focusing on adopting measures aimed at resolving these challenges,” the NGO Forum said.
“The systematic targeting and harassment of those seeking to air their concerns is not progressive and will not take the country forward.
“The government of Zimbabwe must be called upon to invest in genuine dialogue with its citizens in order to come up with a lasting solution to this crisis.”