NON-GOVERNMENTAL Organisations (NGOs) in Africa have resolved to pressure the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) to ask the United Nations to send
a special rapporteur to assess the situation of human rights defenders in the country.
The continental organisation made their submissions to the Commission’s meeting held from November 23 to December 7 in Dakar, Senegal.
In their resolution titled “ACHPR 36th Session — NGO Forum Resolution on Zimbabwe”, the African organisations said there was a need for the government to also repeal repressive legislation such as the Public Order and Security Act and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
“The NGO forum resolves to recommend to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights to recommend to the government of Zimbabwe to invite the special rapporteur on the African Commission on Human Rights defenders and the special representative of the United Nations Secretary General on human rights defenders to visit Zimbabwe to assess the situation of human rights defenders in Zimbabwe,” the resolution said.
The continental NGOs had also appealed to the commission to urge Zimbabwe not to pass the NGOs Bill and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Bill in their current form as they violated and “impinged on the African Charter and other international human rights standards”.
However, the Bills were both passed last week, and are now awaiting presidential assent.
Of major concern to the NGO forum was that promulgating such legislation would result in the closure of some NGOs, criminalising human rights defenders and banning foreign funding.