Zimbabwe's justice minister has accused powerful countries of unfairly
singling out his country for alleged serious and systematic violations
of human rights. In a speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council, the
minister denounced governments for demonizing Zimbabwe's record.
minister of justice and legal affairs did not mince his words. In a
short, strident address, the minister, Patrick Antony Chinamasa,
attacked what he called rampant politicization by certain governments.
accused so-called powerful states of demonizing a selective group of
countries for alleged human rights abuse even though their own records
were far from perfect.
"My country has too often been the target
of condemnation and shaming on matters of human rights at the hands of
a few members of the United Nations who have sought to achieve other
ends through the artifice of human rights. We have heard them this
week and we have heard them over the past several years. Our response
is that we are no worse than other States. We shall endeavor to
improve," he said.
The U.N. Human Rights Office has condemned
Zimbabwe for the harassment, intimidation and imprisonment of political
opponents. It has criticized the government for illegally
appropriating the farms of white owners. It has deplored the
impoverishment of Zimbabwe's population and the collapse of the
country's socio-economic structures, which have resulted in a run-away
Minister Chinamasa accused the U.N. High
Commissioner's Office of trying to undermine his country's political
and judicial system.
He acknowledged Zimbabwe is not without
blemishes on human rights issues. But, said his government was
concerned by what he called the selectivity, partiality, bias and
politicization shown by the U.N. Office. He added his country is not
the only violator.
"And, yet the Office decides to name and
shame only some," he said. "Lack of mention of sanctions that have
brought a lot of suffering on Zimbabwe's people baffles us. We are not
saying be silent if you see us not promoting and respecting and
protecting human rights. We are only saying we need to hear you loud
and clear on all without favor and in respect of human rights
Following this plea, the minister of justice said
his government will cooperate with the Human Rights Office and will
honor a request by the High Commissioner to visit his country in the
He noted things are moving forward in Zimbabwe with
the government of national unity in place. He said his government
deserves the support of all, instead of the unrelenting attempts from
some quarters to undermine it.