Wednesday, 28 October 2009

ZIMBABWE: Invitation to UN Special Rapporteur on torture withdrawn as SADC arrives

Dear Friends,

As the SADC Organ Troika arrives for the mission to Zimbabwe on 29 October 2009, the Government of Zimbabwe has withdrawn; at the last minute; the official invitation to the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, to conduct the first official mission to Zimbabwe scheduled to take place from 28 October to 4 November 2009.

A Press Release issued today, 28.10.09 by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) states that the Government of Zimbabwe informed them that they had decided to withdrew the invitation on the 26.10.09. On his arrival in Johannesburg the Special Rapporteur was informed that the mission had to be postponed by the Government “due to the previously unanticipated Consultative process currently taking place in Harare involving the Government of National Unity and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Government of Zimbabwe will be unable to receive the Special Rapporteur on the proposed dates.”

The Special Rapporteur observes that 'recent allegations that MDC supporters and human rights defenders have been arrested, harassed and intimidated during the past few days, highlight the urgency of objective fact-finding by an independent UN expert at this crucial stage' He goes on to call upon the Government of Zimbabwe to receive him in Harare and allow the mission to go ahead as planned. Find the Press Statement issued by OHCHR at:

A further UN News Release on the issue can be found at =* *

Our member organisation Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights issued the attached HRD's Watch yesterday, 27.10.09, reporting that the NANGO Chair, Dadirai Chikwengo and Chief Executive Officer Cephus Zinhumwe who had been in detention since their arrest on Sunday 25.10.09 were granted bail on 27.10.09 after being charged with contravening Section 25(1)(b) of the Public Order and Security Act for allegedly failing to notify the regulating authority of an intention to hold a 'public political gathering'.

Another of our member organisations, the Zimbabwe Human Rights
Association (ZimRights) issued the attached Communique on 27.10.09
condemning the arrest of civil society leaders and noting that the
situation in the country remains volatile wth tension silently
mounting over the outstnding issues in the Global Political
Agreement that have not been addressed.

Further to the above, the Ecumenical Network of Zimbabwe (EZN) issued the attached press statement today, 28.10.09 following
the arrest of NANGO leaders Dadirai Chikwengo and Cephas Zinhumwe at which they were granted bail for one month.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA Zimbabwe), another of our member organisations issued the attached two Media Alert Updates today 28.10.09


The first reports that High Court Judge Tedious Karwi on 26
October 2009 confirmed the conviction for contempt of court and
sentence to imprisonment of state prosecutor Andrew Kumire in the
ongoing trial of prominent lawyer Alec Muchadehama.


The second reports the further remand out of custody on 26.10.09
of freelance journalist Annie Mpalume. Allegations against her
arise from her alleged unlawful entry into a protected area, the
Chiadzwa diamond fields in Manicaland.

Further to our mailing on Monday, 26.10.09 we attach the
Declaration made at the conclusion of the 'Friends of Zimbabwe
Group' comprising the main donors to Zimbabwe, who met in Berlin
on that date. Our Co-ordinator, Tor-Hugne Olsen who also
co-ordinates the Zimbabwe Europe Network (ZEN) addressed the
donors and made recommendations to the meeting on behalf of ZEN as
we reported on Monday.

-- International Liaison Office
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
56-64 Leonard Street
London EC2A 4LT
Tel. +44-(0)20-7065 0945
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 with the word 'unsubscribe' in the subject field.

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