Monday, 13 July 2009

NEWS FROM ZIMBABWE!

Dear Friends,


Today, 13.7.09 the First All Stakeholders Constitutional Conference (1^st ASHCC) was due to take place from 13 -14 July 2009 in Harare. This follows the successful conclusion last week of the 2009 Peoples Constitutional Convention at which representatives of civil society organisations met in Harare from 3-4.7.09 and issued a declaration of their principles, demands, issues and action points as included in our mailing on Friday. We attach that again here for reference.


The Constitution Watch, issued by Veritas yesterday, 12.7.09 contains details of the accreditation process for registration at the 1^st ASHCC meeting which was to have begun from 8.00 hours yesterday, Sunday 12.7.09. It also contains the draft programme which indicates that the proceedings were due to start at 9.00 this morning.


Members of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum present at the event report that the registration process was chaotic with only a few delegates having registered by 18.00 hours yesterday, Sunday 12.7.09. The registration process went on until 13.00 hours this morning when finally the registration requirements were relaxed and anyone was let in. Our colleagues inform us that the venue was full but the entire process was severly delayed. By noon today proceedings finally kicked off with a welcoming speech made by the Speaker of Parliament. However, we are informed that his speech was severly disrupted in what appeared to be a well co-ordinated disruption by chanting and singing ZANU PF youths who drowned out the welcoming speech. Thereafter a number of delegates left and the conference petered out in apparently chaotic scenes.


Yesterday, our member organisation, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) made public a copy of the letter they sent to the Co-Chairpersons of the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution. The attached letter raises a number of concerns relating to the 1^st ASHCC including the invitation process and the lack of consultation around the proposed programme. ZLHR states it's intention to attend under protest. It notes that it is their considered opinion that the Chairpersons of the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Consitution have failed to meet their obligations under the Inter Party Agreement and the Constituion of Zimbabwe as well as the principles enshrined in the Zimbabwe Peoples' Charter and the SADC Guidelines on Constitution-Making and Constitutional Reform.


Last week, the Commonwealth organisations held a roundtable meeting on Zimbabwe in Johannesburg. The final declaration from that meeting, which was issued on the Thursday, 9.7.09. is attached here.

-- International Liaison Office
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
56-64 Leonard Street
London EC2A 4LT
Tel. +44-(0)20-7065 0945
Email: IntLO@hrforumzim.com
................................
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has been in existence since January 1998 when non-governmental orgainsiations working in the field of human rights joined together to provide legal and psychological assistance to the victims of the Food Riots of January 1998. The Forum consists of 16 Zimbabwean human rights organisations. The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum operates a Research and Documentation Unit and offers legal services through the Public Interest Unit from the Headquarters in Harare, in addition to the information service that is offered internationally from the International Liaison Office. The International Liaison Office of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO in an effort to ensure the widest possible coverage for our reports, constantly updates and adds to the email addresses on our list using member organisations' contact lists or other sources. If you would like to have your name removed from the list, please send an email to zimhrforum@btconnect.com with the word 'unsubscribe' in the subject field.

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