I AM writing to express the concerns that have been raised in the recently released report entitled Zimbabwe: Rights under siege.
My concerns include the fact tha
t Amnesty International’s research indicates that restrictive legislation has been introduced by the government as a vehicle for suppressing dissent and placing the fundamental human rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, under siege.
The other concern is the fact that Amnesty International believes that specific provisions of legislation directly contravene regional and international human rights standards, which guarantee the fundamental rights of Zimbabweans to freedom of expression, association and assembly.
Furthermore, I would like to point out that Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights to which Zimbabwe is party, states: “Every individual shall have the right to free association provided that he abides by the law.”
In addition, Article 11 of the charter states: “Every individual shall have the right to assemble freely with others.”
I therefore call upon the governments of South Africa, Botswana and Zambia to bring all possible pressure to bear on the Zimbabwean government to immediately repeal or drastically amend legislation which violates internationally recognised rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly in accordance with international law.
These governments should also use their influential voices directly and as member states of Sadc and the AU, to publicly signal that the repression of fundamental rights in Zimbabwe is unacceptable.
Betty S Quigley,