Zimbabwean Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has voiced strong support for moves by Russia and China to shield the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad from international sanctions over its crackdown on a 11-month old opposition uprising.
Chinamasa was addressing the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva after the panel voted 37 to 3 to adopt a resolution to condemn the Assad regime.
Chinamasa said Thursday that Syria is a sovereign state and must be allowed to peacefully resolve its differences without foreign interference. " In our view, the current situation in Syria requires first and foremost, the efforts of the Syrian people to peacefully resolve their differences without any foreign interference," he said.
Chinamasa added that the Syrian crisis "requires diplomacy, dialogue and international cooperation, taking full cognizance of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria."
China, Russia and Cuba had opposed the Human Rights Council motion.
Chinamasa said Zimbabwe will continue to do its utmost to promote and protect human rights for the benefit of its people. But he said Western sanctions were hindering that effort and have also been an impediment to the country's development.
Chinamasa also condemned the International Criminal Court, calling it “a glorified Kangaroo court lacking impartiality." He took a swipe at gays calling homosexuality “alien to our culture" and accusing accused Western countries of trying to foist homosexuality on Zimbabweans by threatening to withdraw aid.
Human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga, in Geneva for the meeting, told VOA reporter Blessing Zulu that Chinamasa’s remarks were to be expected given the record of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party on protecting human rights.