Statement on the conviction of pro-democracy activist and former student’s activist Makomborero Haruzivishe and assault of journalist Samuel Takawira

The National Association of Youth Organizations (NAYO) is a Youth Umbrella Body for youth organizations working in Zimbabwe. Its vision is to see a repositioned, redefined and enhanced role of youth in community and national, regional and international developmental processes;

Guided by the dictates of the African Youth Charter on Articles 4 on Freedom of expression which calls on Member States to ‘ensure that every young person is assured the right to express his or ideas and opinions freely in all matters’ and Article 5 on Freedom to Association which calls on Member States to‘ensure that every young person has the right to free association and freedom of peaceful in conformity of the law’ and the Constitution of Zimbabwe sections 58 and 59;

Acknowledging the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council resolution on the safety and protection of journalists (A/HRC/25/35) and reports presented by several special procedures of the UN Commission on Human Rights (E/CN/.4/2004/62) and of the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/20/17) and (A/HRC/20/22);

Noting with concern the conviction of Makomborero Haruzivishe on the basis of ‘circumstantial evidence’ for inciting public violence and resisting arrest; the assault of citizens gathered outside the Harare Magistrates Court by the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the assault of journalist Samuel Takawira covering scenes following the sentencing of Makomborero Haruzivishe;

Perturbed by the criminalization of demonstrations, protests and expressions of dissent by the Government of Zimbabwe as citizens give expression to challenges bedeviling them; the continual targeting of youth activists with several having pending court cases in the courts of Zimbabwe with; the continual use of COVID-19 measures by the Government to indiscriminately and arbitrarily arrest, detain, or prosecute dissenting voices and youth activists and the restrictions which remain in effect that limit the exercise of freedoms to association and peaceful assembly which are protected by the Constitution and International Law;

We thus make an urgent plea and call to the Government of Zimbabwe and all relevant institutions and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to:

  • Ensure the independence and impartiality of the Courts in the delivery of judgments related to the exercise of civic and political rights enshrined within the Constitution and investigate the continual targeting of youth activists within the country;
  • Enforce strict compliance to the use of force principles and standards on the policing of assemblies laid out in the United Nations (UN) Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, and the United Nations Human Rights Guidance on Less-Lethal Weapons in Law Enforcement to protect citizens in public gatherings; and
  • Take appropriate steps to prevent violence threats and attacks against journalists, media workers and ensure accountability for crimes committed against journalists as per the dictates of African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) statutes.

We call for the release of Makomborero Haruzivishe, which we believe he is a political prisoner.

Source: National Association of Youth Organizations (NAYO)

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