Govt, UN envoy to agree on final report

Daniel Nemukuyu Investigations and Special Reports Editor
GOVERNMENT and the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, Mr Clement Voule, have agreed that Zimbabwe will get an opportunity to respond to his findings before compilation of a final report by December 15 this year.

On Saturday Mr Voule issued a press statement to journalists on the progress made during his official tour of Zimbabwe.

However, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi yesterday said the preliminary document was not the one that will be handed over to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

In an interview, Minister Ziyambi said the final report was yet to be produced after December 15 when Zimbabwe is expected to officially give its input.

“When we met Mr Voule, we agreed that he will give us the final draft of his findings by the 15th of December to enable us to officially respond ahead of the production of the final report to be handed over to UNHRC.

“What was released this weekend is not the final report to be handed over to UNHRC. He is still to compile a detailed report and we will be given an opportunity to respond to it first.

“Whatever is being circulated is not the final report,” said Minister Ziyambi.

The Special Rapporteur’s final conclusions and recommendations will be presented in a report to the Human Rights Council in June next year.

In his statement, Mr Voule said his preliminary document did not reflect all the issues presented to him.

“I will elaborate on these preliminary findings in a more detailed manner in a report that will be presented at the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council in June 2020.

“The preliminary findings neither reflect all the issues presented to me, nor all the initiatives undertaken by the Government of Zimbabwe,” he said.

Mr Voule hailed Zimbabwe for ratifying a number of international human rights instruments and urged the country to ratify the other outstanding instruments.

“Zimbabwe has ratified a number of international and regional human rights instruments and committed itself to observe them.

“I would like to encourage it to ratify the remaining key international human rights treaties such as the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances and the optional protocols to which it is not yet a state party, in particular, those of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights,” he said.

Mr Voule concluded a 10-day official visit to Zimbabwe on Friday, the first such mission to the country by an independent expert appointed by the Human Rights Council.

He came to Zimbabwe at the invitation of the Government.

The expert expressed his support for the Government’s stated commitment to democratisation, urging the authorities to go further in translating their vision into action.

“The change in leadership in Zimbabwe two years ago and its promised ‘new dispensation’ — which reaffirms the aspiration to bring the country forward in terms of democratic processes, civic space and the realisation of human rights for all — must be put into action now,” Mr Voule said in a statement.

“The Government has the unenviable challenge to resolve a profound and complex economic, political and social crisis in the country. To succeed it will need the support of the international community,” Mr Voule said.

“My role is to encourage the authorities that genuine dialogue with the political class and the population, including protest movements, is the only way forward to resolve such a crisis.”

The expert applauded the setting up of the Motlanthe Commission which was tasked to bring truth and accountability for alleged human rights violations which occurred in the midst of electoral violence last year.

He urged the Government to implement recommendations from the commission’s report which was submitted in December 2018.

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