U.S. Intervention Statement at the Universal Periodic Review of Zimbabwe
As delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
The United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva
26th Session, November 2, 2016
The United States welcomes the Zimbabwe delegation to the UPR Working Group.
We would like to reiterate the importance of adhering to the rights enshrined in the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe, and that are protected under Zimbabwe’s international human rights obligations. We are concerned by severe restrictions on the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association – including the use of excessive force by police, bans on demonstrations, and government threats to crack down on activists.
We remain seriously concerned by the increase of politically motivated violence, the failure of state institutions to hold security forces accountable for human rights violations against human rights defenders and perceived opponents of the ruling ZANU-PF party, and against the people of Zimbabwe peacefully demonstrating for positive change.
The United States recommends that Zimbabwe:
- Investigate all cases of politically motivated violence, including the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of human rights defender Itai Dzamara, and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.
- Repeal or significantly reform laws that may have the effect of unduly restricting freedom of expression and the right of peaceful assembly, which may include the Public Order and Security Act, the Computer Crime and Cyber Crime Bill and police bans on protests.
- Establish a credible, independent electoral commission capable of registering eligible voters on a nation-wide basis ahead of the 2018 elections.