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HomeNewsInternational Groups Reach Out To Mnangagwa Over PVO Bill

International Groups Reach Out To Mnangagwa Over PVO Bill

Over 40 leading human rights and legal aid organisations from across the world have urged the government of Zimbabwe to stop targeting and negatively profiling civil society organisations who are providing invaluable services and playing a key role in ensuring good governance in the country.

In a statement, the organisations accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration of restricting the capacity of civil society organisations to operate through the PVO Amendment Bill.

“Under the administration of President Mnangagwa, the Zimbabwe government has increasingly restricted the capacity of civil society to operate and continued down a dangerous path towards the near total closure of civic space. State authorities have engaged in repressive attacks on activists, journalists, human rights defenders, opposition party leaders and critical voices from all sections of society.

“Civil society organisations have decried the worrying trend of arbitrary arrests and detention; judicial capture and intimidation, as well as other forms of repression aimed at stifling dissent and resulting in a chilling effect. As part of the crackdown on civic space, the government introduced the PVO Amendment Bill which confers unfettered discretionary powers on the executive arm of government to overregulate and interfere in non-governmental organisations’ governance and operations,” read the statement

The organisations called on the government to among other issues ensure the independent operation of civic society organisations.

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“The government of Zimbabwe stops disparaging civil society organisations and ensures that they can fully and independently operate throughout the country in accordance with the Constitution and international law. The judiciary in Zimbabwe guards its independence and fulfills its constitutional mandate and protects the fundamental rights and freedoms of civil society activists and human rights defenders in adjudicating cases before it.

“The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other intergovernmental bodies must take steps to guarantee greater respect and protection for civil society organisations including by condemning the use of inflammatory language by State parties during their sessions. Regional and international communities should continue to put pressure on President Mnangagwa and other State officials to jettison the worrying sections of the PVO Amendment Bill, reflect the recommendations presented by civil society, and promote a thriving civic space within the country,” said the organisations

Local CSOs have resisted the PVO Bill saying if passed into law, it would provide the government with unfettered discretionary power to over-regulate and interfere in non-government organisations’ governance and operations.

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