Posts Tagged ‘ZimRights’

Zimbabwe human rights award to Zanu politician under fire

December 22, 2014

As a relative specialist on human rights awards [], I would be amiss not to relate the following ‘problem’ with a human rights award in Zimbabwe. The local NGO ZimRights gave a number of human rights awards and ended up having to defend the People’s Choice Award, which had been attributed to a  ZANU-PF MP Joseph Chinotimba. A number of human rights defenders activists protested as they said it as was wrong to honour a war veteran who is known to have led violent farm invasions which claimed lives and displaced thousands of people.

Buhera-South MP Joseph Chinotimba

ZimRights has responded by saying that the People’s Choice Award is not [really] a Human Rights Defender Award but is an award “linked to the raising of pertinent developmental issues in the nation using platforms that one has access to”. It also explained that the nominees were selected by the people in all ZimRights’ eleven provinces and when votes were tallied Hon Chinotimba emerged as the winner. ZimRights said they take this result as a challenge and lesson on future education and human rights voting. The 3rd Edition of the Community Human Rights Defenders Award was held in Bulawayo last week on Thursday and the controversy may have obscured that the Overall Human Rights Defender of the Year was awarded to Rebecca Chisamba, a television talk show host. The New Zimbabwe report on 21 December added that “It is not clear what has endeared Chinotimba to the people but a few months ago the comical legislator arrived in Victoria Falls where he bought 200 cases of beer for the revellers at a local beer garden. Chinos, as the Buhera South MP is affectionately known, also pledged to pay school fees for over 20 school children at Chinotimba School which he claims is named after his ancestor.”

ZimRights defends Chinotimba’s award.

Another paper, Newsday, on 22 December, reported that the MP in question, perhaps in response to the criticism,  “stunned the more than 200 invited guests that included donor agencies, MPs, civil society leaders, community human rights defenders and commissioners of a variety commissions when he turned down the holiday offer and requested that the money be channelled towards improving infrastructure in his constituency” [The prize was a paid holiday at Victoria Falls with his wife.]

[Chinotimba came into the political limelight in 2000 when he together with the late war veterans’ leader Chenjerai Hunzvi led violent farm invasions and later stormed then High Court judge Justice James Devitte’s chambers in protest against his court rulings on land issues. Since his election into Parliament last year, Chinotimba has generated a lot of controversy through his fearless debates.]

Zimbabwe Human Rights Defenders use awards extensively

November 26, 2013

(ZimRights chairperson Everson Ndlovu announcing the awards)

Human rights awards are growing more and more popular both at international and national level. For that reason my post number 1000 (this is number 999!!) tomorrow will be fully devoted to international human rights awards. The national human rights awards created by Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZIMRIGHTS) in 2012 are to be extended this year, increasing categories from an already very high number of 14 to 20. Read the rest of this entry »

Mugabe keeps up the pressure on human rights defenders in Zimbabwe

February 14, 2013

Zimbabwe figures unpleasantly often in this blog. Last month it was the arrest of Okay Machisa, the director of ZimRights (since been freed on bail), and the police raid on the Zimrights office before that. Now AFP reports that the Zimbabwe police on 12 February raided the offices of another prominent human rights NGO, the Zimbabwe Peace Project. ” Read the rest of this entry »

ZimRights Director Okay Machisa arrested in Harare

January 17, 2013

The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFK) Center denounced the arrest of Okay Machisa, director of the human rights group ZimRights and the most recent target in a series of arrests against Zimbabwean civil society activists in the lead up to the nations 2013 election. Since August of last year, nearly a dozen organizations – including Women of Zimbabwe Arise, Counseling Services Unit, and the Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe – have experienced harassment in the form of office raids, multiple arrests, and physical abuse at the hands of police. Mr. Machisas arrest, on the grounds of conspiring to “commit voter registration fraud and publishing or communicating falsehoods”occurred just one month after the arrest of his deputy at ZimRights, Leo Chamahwinya.

The increasingly brazen steps that Zimbabwean authorities have taken to block civic activism are an unsettling reminder of the violence and intimidation that has marred past elections,” said Santiago Canton, Director of Partners for Human Rights at the RFK Center. “In December, President Mugabe resolved to deregister so-called errant civic groups that deviate from their mandate during his annual political party conference in December. The international community, and in particular, leaders from the Southern African Development Community, must urge the government of Zimbabwe to immediately end all forms of harassment and intimidation against civil society organizations and human rights activists.”

Yesterday, January 16, Mr. Machisa was denied bail by a Harare Magistrate and remanded in custody until January 30 on dubious grounds.

via RFK Center Denounces Arrest of ZimRights Director

Zimbabwe: the High Commissioner has left; arbitrary arrests continue

July 2, 2012

The UN High commissioner of Human Rights has hardly left the country and the regime shows its true nature by arresting a groups of  peaceful demonstrators.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders has been informed by reliable sources about the repression of a peaceful demonstration organised by Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), a civic movement that defends women’s rights and freedoms in Zimbabwe.

According to the information received, on June 27, 2012 in the morning, 101 members of WOZA were arrested in the centre of Bulawayo, where protests were due to start at 11.00 a.m in ten different locations. All were taken to Bulawayo Central Police Station, many of whom handcuffed. Their lawyers were denied access to their clients on three occasions. The 101 were released without charges between 4.30 p.m. and 5.30 p.m. on the same day, in batches of 5 people so as to prevent any mass protests. 

Previously, on June 26, 2012, eight members of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) were also arrested in Bulawayo as they were on their way back from a workshop to commemorate the 2012 United Nations International Day in Respect of Victims of Torture. They were also detained at Bulawayo Central Police Station for an hour, before being released without charges.

On the same day in Karoi, four other members of ZimRights were briefly detained before being released without charges.

The Observatory, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), expresses its deepest concern about the increasing obstacles to freedom of assemblyrefers these cases to the United Nations Special Rapporteurs and requests urgent intervention by all. For action modalities go to:

Zimbabwe: Arbitrary arrests of WOZA peaceful demonstrators / June 29, 2012 / Urgent Interventions / Human rights defenders / OMCT.