Harare, September 16, 2019 (New Ziana)-United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) special rapporteur Clément Nyaletsossi Voule is expected to visit Zimbabwe at the invitation of the government from 17 to 27 September this year to assess the country’s achievements and challenges regarding the exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
This is the first official visit by an independent human rights expert, appointed by the Human Rights Council, to Zimbabwe.
In a statement, Voule said he would use the visit to get first hand information about Zimbabwe.
“My upcoming visit to Zimbabwe represents a key opportunity to learn first-hand about laws, policies and national realities in relation to the rights to peaceful assembly and of association in light to the 2013 Constitution and the change of leadership,” Voule said.
“My mission will also serve to identify the opportunities and challenges the Government faces in implementing articles 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, particularly in relation to the management of assemblies in the context of the recent protests,” the human rights expert said, noting Zimbabwe’s accession to the Covenant in May 1991.
Voule is expected to meet government officials, representatives of the judiciary, legislature, independent institutions and civil society.
During his 10-day mission, Voule is expected to travel to Bulawayo, Mutare and the Marange communities.
“I look forward to having a constructive engagement with the Government, independent institutions and a wide-range of civil society actors to identify needs and practical approaches in order to formulate constructive recommendations that can contribute to the strengthening of the civic space in the country,” he said.
At the end of his mission, Voule is expected to present a comprehensive report of his visit, which will include his findings and recommendations, to the 44th session of the Human Rights Council in June 2020.
The UNHRC is a United Nations body whose mission is to promote and protect human rights around the world.
It has 47 members elected for staggered three-year terms on a regional group basis and its headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
The UNHRC investigates allegations of breaches of human rights in UN member states, and addresses important thematic human rights issues such as freedom of association and assembly, freedom of expression, freedom of belief and religion, women’s rights, LGBT rights, and the rights of racial and ethnic minorities.
It was established by the UN General Assembly on March 15, 2006 to replace the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) that had been strongly criticised for allowing countries with poor human rights records to be members.