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Dont Sign The PVO Bill Into Law, UN Rapporteur Tells ED

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association Clément Nyaletsossi Voule has urged President Emmerson Mnangagwa not to sign the Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO) Bill into law saying it will limit civic space and freedom of association.

Replying to his earlier post in which he urged Zimbabwe parliamentarians to consider the comments he made on the controversial bill, Voule said he was left disappointed after the legislature passed it without taking into account his input.

Voule said the PVO Bill must be revised in consultation with civil society organisations and in line with international law.

“I’m disappointed #Zimbabwe parliament passed #PVO Bill w/out addressing my prior recommendations. I now call on President @edmnangagwa to not sign it into law as it will limit civic space & freedom of association. It must be revised in consultation w/ CSOs & in line w/ int law,” said Voule.

Harare West legislator Joana Mamombe has also described the PVO Bill as an affront to human rights, freedom of expression and democracy.

Mamombe said the “oppressive” bill must be condemned as the government is using its power to silence those demanding accountability from the state.

“The recently passed PVO Bill is an affront to human rights, freedom of expression & democracy. It is unacceptable that the Zim govt is attempting to restrict the independent activities of civil society, we strongly condemn this oppressive Bill,” said Mamombe.

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Thandekile Moyo, a human rights defender said the PVO Bill is a legislation put in place to criminalize opposition

“What the government is attempting to do is ensure that as many people as possible are forced to register as PVOs so that they can prevent not only the funding of opposition parties, but also restrict open support for the opposition.

“The bill seeks to criminalize opposition politics, which includes the activities of civil society organizations and NGOs that are viewed as political lobby groups.

“Most NGOs target human security in all its forms — from human rights to economic security and political insecurity, among other issues. The major cause of this insecurity is the government,” said Moyo.\

Parliament has passed the PVO Bill which now awaits presidential assent before it becomes law.

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