As Zimbabwe suffers a renewed police clampdown, the UN has sent a top official to the country to ‘assess the country’s achievements and challenges in relation to the exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association’.
Clement Nyaletossi Voule was appointed the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to peaceful assembly and association in March 2018. He arrives in Zimbabwe this week with a prominent doctor and other citizens reported missing – probably kidnapped – and a human rights lawyer is put on trial for doing his job.
Voule’s mission is the first official visit by an independent human rights expert to Zimbabwe and he will immediately be made aware that Dr Peter Magombeyi remains missing, with strong suspicions that he has been abducted by state agents.
Then there is the impending trial on 1 October of human rights lawyer Doug Coltart and eight teachers, who were his clients but are now his co-accused.
Even by Zimbabwe security force standards of heavy-handedness, a line was crossed when police assaulted and arrested Coltart – along with a journalist, who was later released without charge.
There is a fear that this incident will have a ripple effect through…