Zimbabwe’s bid to rejoin the Commonwealth could come under the microscope as lawyers speak on areas of concern regarding rule of law and human rights.
Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) says as the country gears up for elections, it is cause for concern that there are a number of issues which would undermine the holding of free and fair elections.
In a statement, CLA urges respect for the right to freedom of expression; Government in Zimbabwe to ensure that journalists, and government opposition, and representatives of civil society in Zimbabwe can exercise their rights of freedom of expression and assembly.
Read full statement below:
CLA Statement regarding freedom of expression, the rule of law and support for fair and free elections in Zimbabwe
The Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) notes that elections are to take place in Zimbabwe later this year. In many countries elections can result in polarisation and tension.
The CLA urges free and fair elections in Zimbabwe and for all participants to respect the election outcome.
For democracy to flourish, informed and tolerant debate is essential. Contrary views must be respected. Some events have occurred in Zimbabwe which cause concern to the CLA.
The Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Bill which has passed Parliament has attracted much comment. The CLA considers the PVO Bill to be inconsistent with the Constitution of Zimbabwe stifling Freedom of Association and Freedom of Expression.
The intrusive powers contained within the PVO Bill will inhibit and curtail legitimate activities of civic society operating through private voluntary organisations, putting at risk the valuable social and economic contributions of such organisations.