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Zimbabwe Declines To Appear Before International Labor Rights Panel

Zimbabwe Thursday refused to appear before the standards committee of the International Labor Organization in Geneva to respond to charges it violated human rights. The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions had successfully sought to have Harare listed by the committee to put the issue on a conference agenda.

Representatives of the Zimbabwean government were scheduled to appear before the committee on Wednesday but an official delegation led by Labor Minister Nicholas Goche asked that the appearance be postponed until Thursday.

But on Thursday afternoon as the committee was preparing for the hearing, the government delegation presented a letter saying it was declining to appear before the committee on grounds that it did not believe it would receive a fair hearing.

Reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reached ZCTU Secretary General Wellington Chibebe who said from Geneva that the decision might have been made by the Zimbabwean cabinet so evidence would not be aired in public.

Neither Labor Minister Nicholas Goche nor a spokesman could be reached.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...