Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva, Switzerland
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Universal Periodic Review Working Group – 12th Session

Universal Period Review of Zimbabwe

Statement by Australia

10 October 2011


Australia welcomes the delegation from the Republic of Zimbabwe and appreciates its engagement in the Universal Periodic Review process.

We remain deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Zimbabwe and repeat our call on all parties to the Inclusive Government to protect the human rights of Zimbabweans. We regard the first steps towards this objective being the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement, which specifies a commitment to the rule of law, the prevention of violence, as well as freedoms of assembly, association and expression.

To this end, we welcome the establishment of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and Zimbabwe’s report to the Human Rights Council on policies and strategies to advance human rights protection. We call on Zimbabwe to finalise expeditiously the legislation to bring the Commission into operation and ensure the Commission has the resources and independence necessary to carry out its functions in accordance with the Paris Principles.

We call for an end to all politically motivated violence, and an end to the harassment and detention of parliamentarians and civil society members.

We welcome Zimbabwe’s constitutional commitment to the protection of human rights. We note, however, that many of these protections are not being given full effect. We call on Zimbabwe to fully implement its Constitutional and international commitments to protect human rights.

Important steps to achieving this include amending the Public Order and Security Act, the Access to Information and Privacy Act, as well as other laws that restrict freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression. We call for the depoliticisation and appropriate regulation and civilian oversight of the police and security forces, including by ensuring the Prosecutor’s office is fully independent from the Attorney-General’s Office.

We commend and strongly support the efforts of the Southern African Development Community in Zimbabwe and underline the importance of its efforts to facilitate a roadmap to credible elections in an environment free from intimidation and violence under a new constitution.

Australia recommends Zimbabwe:

1. Implement fully the Global Political Agreement, including those articles relating to the security of persons and prevention of violence, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association;

2. Prioritise efforts to implement domestic policies to give effect to the protection of human rights, and the prevention of politically-motivated violence and intimidation;

3. Amend the Public Order and Security Act and the Access to Information and Privacy Act; and

4. Ensure Zimbabwe’s Human Rights Commission has the resources and independence to carry out its mandate in accordance with the Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions (The Paris Principles).