By Wallace Mawire
The Heads of Mission of the Delegation of the European Union, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom and the Heads of Mission of Australia, Canada and the United States of America have issued a statement raising concern over respect for human rights and freedom of assembly in Zimbabwe following recent demonstrations which rocked the country mainly in the capital Harare.
They said that intimidation, harassment and physical attacks on human rights defenders, trade union and civil society representatives, and opposition politicians – prior to, during and following the demonstration in Harare on 16 August – are cause for great concern.
The delegation adds that the Zimbabwean Constitution guarantees the right to personal security from violence and prohibits physical or psychological torture.
The Heads of Mission also urged the authorities to respect these fundamental rights, and to hold perpetrators of violence legally responsible.
The Heads of Mission also said that they called on the authorities to respect the constitutional rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression as well as to peaceful protest, and urge all political party leaders and supporters 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 and proportionality while maintaining public order,” they said.
The delegation added that only by addressing concretely and rapidly these human rights violations will the Government of Zimbabwe give credibility to its commitments to address longstanding 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,” the delegation added.