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U.S: Deteriorating Human Rights Situation in Zimbabwe Extremely Worrying

  • Gibbs Dube

FILE: Zimbabwean Pastor Evan Mawarire (2nd R), who organized a 'stay at home' anti-government protest last week, arrives at the Harare Central Police station in Zimbabwe, July 12, 2016.

The United States says it is extremely concerned by the continuing deterioration of the human rights situation in Zimbabwe following the arrest of Pastor Evan Mawarire of #ThisFlag movement and Pastor Phillip Patrick Mugadza.

In a statement, the U.S Embassy in Harare said, “The U.S. Government unequivocally believes in the basic right to freedom of speech and calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to respect the human rights of all Zimbabwean citizens which are enshrined in the constitution.

“We believe that the basic right of Zimbabweans to freedom of speech - be it in public, through print media, or social media - should be protected within and outside Zimbabwe’s borders.”

It said they fear that these recent actions will further limit the right of Zimbabweans to exercise their constitutionally-protected freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly, which are similarly protected under Zimbabwe’s international human rights obligations, and are core values of any functioning democracy.

“The U.S. Government also calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to respect the rule of law and legal due process provided by the Constitution.”

Pastor Mawarire was arrested last Wednesday when he arrived in the country following a six-month self-imposed exile. He is facing charges of subverting a constitutionally-elected government. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in jail.

Mawarire organized massive protest against President Robert Mugabe’s government in July last year urging people to press the government to address the deteriorating social and economic situation in Zimbabwe.

Pastor Mugadza was locked up last month for prophesizing that President Mugabe will die in October this year.

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