Zim to present human rights report to UN, AU

Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter

ZIMBABWE has made significant strides in promoting and protecting the rights of its citizens since 2007 in line with international agreements and is due to present reports to world and continental bodies for periodic review.

Further, Government is implementing recommendations from election observer missions that came to Zimbabwe last year for the harmonised polls.

Government is also seized with the curious case of the alleged disappearance of a medical doctors’ representative, one Peter Magombeyi, who is alleged to have been abducted over the weekend.

The developments were revealed by Acting Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Kazembe Kazembe while addressing journalists after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.

In terms of human rights, Cabinet considered and approved Zimbabwe’s Report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which was presented by Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi.

“The report combines the periodic report under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and the report under the Protocol to the ACHPR on Women (known as the Maputo Protocol),” said Minister Kazembe.

“The combined report due to be presented to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in October or November 2019, highlights the progress the country has made in promoting and protecting the human rights of Zimbabweans since 2007 as well as the measures taken to meet the Maputo Protocol obligations.

“Following the minister’s presentation, Cabinet noted with satisfaction, that most of the concerns raised have been addressed by the constitutional amendment.”

Cabinet also considered and approved the Zimbabwe National Mid-Term Report to the United Nations Human Rights Council under the Universal Periodic Review Second Cycle, which was presented by Minister Ziyambi.

Highlights of the review report include progressive political and economic developments made since the last review in 2016, such as the July 2018 harmonised elections which ushered in a new Government; the adoption of the two-year Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), a short-term blueprint to stabilise the economy; reflection of the efforts made by Government in implementing all the recommendations accepted in previous cycles such as voluntary institution of a post-election violence commission of inquiry and a national dialogue process, ratification and domestication of international treaties, strengthening the administration of justice and the rule of law, child protection measures, economic empowerment of women and improvements in education, health and disability rights.

The developments show that the Second Republic remains committed to upholding the rule of law as enshrined in global agreements.

Cabinet yesterday said it was concerned with the growing trend of alleged abductions.

Government believes the “abductions” are calculated to soil the country’s image.

Minister Kazembe said Cabinet was briefed on the matter by Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo.

“Cabinet was briefed by the Minister of Health and Child Care on the situation relating to the reported disappearance of Dr Peter Magombeyi on the 15th of September, 2019. Government is particularly concerned over the growing trend of incidents of this nature, which put the lives of the country’s citizens at risk, while at the same time, appearing to be calculated to tarnish the image of the country.

“Government, once again, appeals to all those with information that can assist in establishing the whereabouts of Dr Magombeyi to alert the police as a matter of extreme urgency. Furthermore, Government is concerned over these occurrences, which of late, tend to occur at a time when important international events are scheduled to take place.

“We wish to assure the nation that Government is deeply concerned with this threat to the safety of its citizens and is determined to investigate the matter and bring the perpetrators to book,” said Minister Kazembe.

Minister of State for National Security Owen Ncube said he had directed security agencies to get to the bottom of the alleged abduction.

“I am cognisant that such reports usually come ahead of major international conferences. I have also instructed the security forces to investigate whether or not a third force is involved. I have however, directed the security services to approach this investigation with an objective and open mind,” he said.

Minister Ncube said he was informed that Dr Magombeyi was last seen by a housemate and workmate around 8pm on September 14, 2019 when he reportedly told his colleague that he was going for an all-night prayer meeting and would not come back that night.

“It was the same colleague and housemate who reported Dr Magombeyi missing the following day around 10am. About 12 hours later Dr Magombeyi is reported to have sent a whatsApp message on a doctors’ chat group which was received at 10:19pm on 15 September 2019.

“The message reportedly read ‘kidnapped by three men’. The phone number is 015 320 465 on social media. The claim is that three trucks with no registration numbers were involved something not mentioned in Dr Magombeyi’s message.”

Minister said Government was doing everything humanly posible to resolve the matter and bring the perpetrators to book.