JUSTICE minister Patrick Chinamasa has censured non-governmental organisations (NGOs) accusing them of being funded to destabilise governments of Third
World countries, especially those that dare take an independent line in international affairs.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva yesterday, Chinamasa said NGOs operating in the area of human rights and governance issues in Zimbabwe are set up and financed by developed countries as instruments of their foreign policy.
“Their objectives include destablisation and interference with the evolution of our political process, undermining our sovereignty (and) creating and sustaining local opposition groups that have no local support base,” Chinamasa said.
“They promote dissatisfaction and hostility among the local population against their popularly elected government.”
He said the NGOs were used invariably as conduits by developed countries to channel dirty money to destabilise third world governments.
“Worse is the increasing trend worldwide whereby NGOs clandestinely and non-transparently set up in our countries by developed countries purport to speak on our behalf but instead of pronouncing and advancing our interests they advance those of the people who set them up,” he said.
Chinamasa said the new council should come up with a framework that prohibits direct funding of local NGOs operating in the field of human rights and governance issues by developed countries and their agencies.
“If any assistance is desired to be given, this should be channeled through the UN system in a transparent and open manner,” he said.
He made an undertaking that government’s proposed Human Rights Commission would “respect the human rights of all its people without regard or distinction of any kind as provided for in the Charter of the UN and the Zimbabwean constitution”.
“In the past,” Chinamasa said, “there has been a tendency to falsely allege against targeted countries violations of human rights and to use such fabrications as pretext for hegemonic control and interference in the internal affairs of those countries. Notions of regime change should not creep into any discourse on human rights.”
Zimbabwe was a member of the now dissolved UN Commission for Human Rights but did not stand for the new council, reportedly because it feared examination of its record.