12th Session of the UPR Working Group
Delegation of the United States of America
Geneva, October 10, 2011
– As delivered –
The United States welcomes His Excellency Minister Chimasa and the Zimbabwe delegation to the UPR Working Group.
We commend Zimbabwe for creation of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission; however, we note with disappointment that it is not operational and is not set up to be an independent constitutional body able to effectively execute its mandate.
We are concerned by the increase of politically motivated violence; the failure of state institutions to hold security forces accountable for ongoing human rights violations against human rights defenders and perceived opponents of the ZANU-PF party; and other obstacles to citizens’ free and equal participation in the upcoming elections.
We are concerned by recurring attempts by officials to facilitate the arbitrary arrest and harassment of lawyers who represent human rights defenders, to use the law on civil and criminal defamation to control the mass media, and to infringe on individual rights to freedoms of expression and assembly.
We recognize there has been some progress by Zimbabwe to secure the Marange diamond producing area. We remain deeply concerned, however, about the failure of military forces to withdraw from the diamond fields, diamond-smuggling, corruption, diamond-related violence by state and non-state security agents, and the denial of access to civil society groups attempting to report on the diamond fields.
Bearing in mind these concerns, the United States would like to make the
- That Zimbabwe fully implement the GPA provisions supporting the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee.
- That Zimbabwe repeal or significantly reform the Public Order and Security Act, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and criminal code provisions that restrict freedoms of assembly and expression.
- That Zimbabwe invite the Special Rapporteur on Torture and other mandate holders to conduct independent and impartial investigations.
- And finally, we recommend that Zimbabwe create stronger mechanisms to ensure greater revenue transparency from diamond mining, demilitarize the diamond industry, and thoroughly investigate cases of beatings and abuse by government and private security services in the Marange area.