Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) commends the government of Zimbabwe for its continued engagement with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), but remains concerned by the government’s refusal to accept key recommendations that would greatly improve the human rights record of the country.
On 16 March 2017, during the United Nations Human Rights Council session, the government accepted 9 and partially supported an additional 6 of the 100 recommendations that were deferred at its review in November 2016.
ZLHR is perturbed by the government’s decision to refuse to accept critical recommendations made by other states during the UPR process (a country-to-country review mechanism established to monitor the overall human rights situation of United Nations (UN) member states).
Regrettably, some of the rejected recommendations mainly focus on the ratification of important human rights instruments. The government refused to accept recommendations urging it to ratify the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and its optional Protocol including ratifying the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and to accept recommendations to issue standing invitations to the special procedures country visits.
While we welcome the government’s pronouncement that it is committed to creating a conducive environment for civil society organisations (CSOs), ZLHR remains concerned by the restricted operating environment for human rights defenders who continue to be subjected to harassment, arrest, prosecution and persecution as they seek to exercise their constitutional rights.
ZLHR looks forward to engaging in further constructive dialogue with the government on the recommendations that have not been accepted, which if embraced would greatly contribute to enjoyment and exercise of fundamental rights and freedoms.