Several countries have expressed concern over human rights violations in Zimbabwe being allegedly perpetrated by the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
In a joint statement, the heads of mission of the European Union, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the United States of America said the government should respect the Zimbabwe Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression, movement and assembly and the right for people to protest peacefully.
“Intimidation, harassment and physical attacks on human rights defenders, trade union and civil society representatives and opposition politicians-prior to, during and following the demonstrations in Harare on 16 August - are cause for great concern.
“The Zimbabwean constitution guarantees the right to personal security from violence and prohibits physical or psychological torture. The heads of Missions urge the authorities to respect these fundamental rights and to hold perpetrators of violence legally responsible.”
They urged President Mnangagwa’s government to respect the constitutional rights to freedom of assembly, association and expressions as well as to peaceful protest.
Political party leaders and supporters were also urged to abstain from threats and incitement to violence as well as acts of violence or vandalism.
“The security forces must adhere to their constitutional mandate and exercise restraint proportionality while maintaining public order. Only by addressing concretely and rapidly these human rights violations will the Government of Zimbabwe give credibility to its commitments to address long standing governance challenges.
“The heads of Mission reiterate their calls for the implementation of the government’s political and economic reform agenda, underpinned by inclusive national dialogue and increased efforts to address the severe social situation.”
Several people have been abducted, tortured and beaten up by suspected state security agents before and during public protests over the current harsh economic situation.
The government claims that the protesters, spearheaded by the Movement for Democratic Change led by Nelson Chamisa, have a regime change agenda.
In a statement, President Mnangagwa’s government expressed dismay over claims by various nations that it is violating human rights and stifling freedom of assembly, association and expression in the country.
“The government is taken aback by the intrusive and judgmental tone of the statement. The statement fails to acknowledge that the Zimbabwean High Court spoke on the issue, which rendered any action taken contrary to that judgment illegal. We therefore note with concern that the statement appears to support law-breaking in Zimbabwe, a position that appears to promote lawlessness in our peaceful country.
“It is therefore disappointing that government is presented with a statement that ignores the importance of upholding both the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the rule of law …”