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US policy towards Zimbabwe not static


US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Democracy, human rights and labour, Steven Feldstein, yesterday said the US policy towards Zimbabwe is not static and is flexible to change.

This was revealed during a 263Chat Live Event which sought to delineate the human rights discourse in Zimbabwe.

Addressing members of civil society and journalists who attended the dialogue, Feldstein said “sanctions” are not fixed and can be altered.

“Our Policies towards Zimbabwe are not static and we will use the human rights approach to examine the level of human rights respect in Zimbabwe.

“Once individuals and entities that have undermined democratic processes or institutions in Zimbabwe repeal their ways, policies towards Zimbabwe will be altered,” he said.

He also said his team will carry out a forensic research which will guide on the necessary steps to take regarding policies on Zimbabwe.

“We are concerned with human rights issues and we will avail a full and transparent report on Zimbabwe’s position,” said the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour.

Feldstein, who revealed that his team has standards which they use to scrutinize human rights information from the civil society said that the United States does not look at Zimbabwe in isolation.

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He went on to say the US stands as a friend to Zimbabwe.

Fedstein who is part of the US Government delegation visiting Zimbabwe to hear firsthand accounts about progress in human rights, democracy and governance since the adoption of Zimbabwe’s constitution in May 2013 also spoke of Itai Dzamara, a journalist and activist who was abducted on 9th March 2015.

“We do not know what happened to Itai Dzamara but we are concerned that someone will disappear in broad day light,” he said.

Speakers who included Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) Director Jestina Mukoko and Abel Chikomo, the Director of Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said cases human rights abuse have been on the decline since the commencement of the Global Political Agreement in 2008

“Figures of human rights violations have significantly gone done especially from the period the Government of National Unity was formed”.

“There are however covert forms of violence which are still rampant in some parts of the country,” said Jestina Mukoko.

ZPP noted 153 cases of human rights violations in the month of March 2015 citing factional fights in political parties as the main cause.

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Abel Chikomo said government still has a lot of work to in the discourse of human rights.

“The government first need to align laws to the new constitution, actually aligning laws on its own is not enough. Institutions also need to be aligned,” he said.

He also said Zimbabwe is a national that lives in denial.

However, Commissioner, Elasto Hilarious Mugwadi ,the Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) applauded government’s actions towards addressing human rights related issues.

“We now have a comprehensive bill of rights in the constitution which was absent in the Lancaster House constitution, he said.

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Journalist based in Harare

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