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Advance questions and statement to Zimbabwe

The second UPR of Zimbabwe was held on 2 November 2016. Below are the advance questions and statement provided by Norway in connection with the review.         

Advance questions:

  1. What steps is the Government of Zimbabwe taking to ensure an environment where freedom of expression is respected? How will it ensure that upcoming legislation, for instance the Computer and Cyber Crime Bill, does not limit citizens’ rights to engage in free and private exchange of information on social media platforms like WhatsApp?
  2. What is the Government of Zimbabwe doing to ensure free and unrestricted assembly, and to cease arrests, harassment and detention of individuals with dissenting views as well as to implement the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders?
  3. What steps has Zimbabwe taken since the last UPR round in 2011 to review and update the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and Private Voluntary Organisations Act (PVOA), which are often invoked when Human Rights Defenders are targeted by the state security apparatus, to be in line with international standards?
  4. What is the Government of Zimbabwe doing to ensure that the governing party does not utilize state resources in order to win the 2018 General Elections, for instance by preventing that distribution of humanitarian aid is used for party-political gain?

Statement:

Norway welcomes the presentation of the national report by the delegation from Zimbabwe, and takes note of the stated intention of promoting and upholding human rights for all. We recommend that the Government of Zimbabwe cooperates closely with civil society in the follow up to this UPR (Universal Periodic Review).

Norway notes with concern the high number of arrests of Human Rights Defenders and peaceful protesters, and continued restrictions on the freedom of expression in Zimbabwe. We recommend that Zimbabwe takes concrete steps to create and maintain a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders. We further recommend that the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and Private Voluntary Organisations Act (PVOA) are reviewed and updated to be in line with international human rights standards.

Norway recommends that Zimbabwe ensures that upcoming legislation will not limit citizens’ rights to engage in free and private exchange of information on social media. We recommend that Zimbabwe makes efforts to promote free and unbiased local media, including by removing restrictions on local radio broadcasts.

We also recommend that steps be taken to promote economic growth with a more equitable distribution of resources, to ensure social and economic rights for all. We recommend that Zimbabwe works closely with the international community in the humanitarian response to the ongoing drought and to ensure that humanitarian aid is distributed in a non-political, non-discriminatory manner.

Thank you.