Zimbabwe urged to allow demonstrations because they are a “release valve”


End of Mission Statement of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Mr. Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, on his visit to Zimbabwe (17-27 September 2019)


Harare, 27 September 2019

Members of the press,

Ladies and gentlemen,

In my capacity as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, I conclude today the first official visit carried by a United Nations Special Procedures mandate holder in the country, which took place from 17 to 27 September 2019.

As a Special Rapporteur, my views are independent.. I present reports to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly. The overarching purpose of my visit to Zimbabwe is to contribute to the efforts it has undertaken in its path towards democratization and to offer recommendations as to how Zimbabwe can better respect, promote, protect and implement international human rights law and standards as they apply to the exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.

I would like to begin by expressing my appreciation to the Government of Zimbabwe for having extended an invitation to my mandate to visit the country with the aim of assessing, in a spirit of dialogue and cooperation, the level of enjoyment of these two civil and political rights. I would also like to thank the Government of Zimbabwe for the cooperation extended to me prior to and throughout the visit. I hope that after my departure we will continue working jointly towards a better enjoyment of these rights by all.

I would also like to particularly thank representatives of independent institutions who also engaged in this dialogue as well as a wide-range of civil society representatives from around the country, including chiefs and community based organizations, trade union leaders and women human rights defenders.

I also take this opportunity to sincerely thank the UN Resident Coordinator ad interim and his Human Rights Advisor, the UNDP Representative and their Offices as well as the World Food Programme for the support provided to me.

During my visit, I had the opportunity to travel outside the capital to Bulawayo, Hwange in the Matabeleland North Province and Mutare, Arda Transau and Marange, in the Manicaland Province.

In Harare, I met with senior Government authorities, including the Acting Minister  of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage and authorities from the Zimbabwe National Police, the Minister of Defence and War Veterans, the Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development, accompanied by representatives of the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company, the Speaker of Parliament and heads of relevant parliamentary Committees, the Attorney General, the Prosecutor General and the Chief Justice. I also held meetings with representatives of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission as well as with the members of the United Nations Country Team, the diplomatic community, representatives of civil society and representative of the main opposition political party, at their request.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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