News / Africa

UN Human Rights Chief Pillay Visits Zimbabwe

Community Service OrganizationsCommunity Service Organizations
x
Community Service Organizations
Community Service Organizations

HARARE - United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has begun a five-day visit to Zimbabwe at the invitation of President Robert Mugabe. The president invited the U.N. human rights chief in hopes of clearing his government, which for years has been accused of being a gross violator of human rights. Civil society groups say Pillay will not see Zimbabwe's actual human rights situation during her visit.


Pillay, a former South African High Court judge who also has served on the International Criminal Court, arrived in Zimbabwe late Sunday.

She summed up her mission by saying, "It is very, very important that the government has invited [the] U.N. commissioner for human rights. I am here to assess the human rights situation and to see how the United Nations can help to advance human protection here," she said.


However, civil society groups say they were shocked to hear the government had drawn up a list of organizations it had cleared to meet the U.N. human rights chief.

Abel Chikomo is a representative of non-governmental organizations that deal with issues of human rights in Zimbabwe.


"Genuine CSOs [community service organizations] will not be commandeered by government to a stage-managed civil society meeting with the high commissioner, which is organized by the government. Neither will we legitimize a fraudulent exercise meant to give the U.N. human rights chief a superficial picture of our country’s human rights situation," said Chikomo.


Irene Petras is the head of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. She said Pillay's visit to Zimbabwe is different compared to visits in other countries.


"We do understand from previous missions that the commissioner has gone on that there are meetings with the civil society and those meetings are not organized by the government. So [where] we have a problem is we were given the mandate to organize our meeting with the U.N. commissioner and from nowhere that mandate has been removed from us by the ministry of justice," said Petras.


Zimbabwe’s human rights record has remained on the international radar for more than a decade, since Mugabe and his supporters began forcing white farm owners off their land in 2000.


In the early 2000s, the United States, Britain and other countries imposed sanctions on Mugabe and ZANU-PF party leaders following reports of election rigging and suppression of the opposition.


The sanctions have expanded since then, as accusations of more human rights violations pile up against the president and his supporters.


In 2009, the government barred entry to U.N. rights investigator Manfred Nowak, who had flown into Zimbabwe for meetings with activists.


Many have seen the invitation of the U.N. human rights chief as an attempt by Mugabe to clear his name as his political career approaches its twilight years.

The president is 88-years-old.


Zimbabwe is due to hold elections some time in the next year, if issues surrounding a new constitution can be worked out.

 

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More