The Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (SAHRDN or Defenders Network) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum) write to bring to your attention the egregious human rights violations of Zimbabwean student leader and human rights defender Alan Moyo and requests your urgent intervention.
Following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, the Zimbabwean government introduced a number of regulations without providing social safety nets for the country’s poor and most vulnerable. Rising levels of hunger, subsequent abuse and partisan distribution of government-sourced food assistance intended to aid the Zimbabwean poor and vulnerable resulted in increased number of people living in abject poverty and significantly decreased their standard of living. Alan Moyo participated in one man protest where he demanded the government be held accountable and ensure the safety of the country’s poor and vulnerable.
Alan Moyo was arrested on the 7th December 2020 at the Harare Central Police Station after visiting fellow students who were arrested and detained for participating in demonstrations demanding government accountability. He has been in pre-trial detention from the 7th of December 2020 and today marks the 71st day while incarcerated. He has been charged with staging a demonstration against the failures of the Zimbabwean government. He has approached the courts seeking bail and he has been denied bail in several attempts. This is despite that he poses no risk, and pre-trial bail is a right under the Zimbabwean Constitution.
Cases of judicial persecution of human rights defenders (HRDs) and legitimate political opponents by authorities are increasing in Zimbabwe. The accused are charged with flimsy criminal charges, denied bail, and detained for long periods of time. The arrests and detention of Jacob Mafume, Hopewell Chin’ono, Job Sikhala, Joana Mamombe, and Cecilia Chimbiri are a few examples of the misuse of the Zimbabwean legal system since 2020. There are serious concerns over these arbitrary arrests as they only seem to be only aimed at punishing HRDS and activists for their legitimate human rights activities.
SAHRDN and the Forum condemn the misuse and abuse of legal systems, and the harassment of activists and human rights defenders. The arbitrary arrest and unlawful detentions aimed at punishing human rights defenders for their legitimate human rights activities limit their ability to exercise their constitutional rights to freely express and/or associate themselves. Alan Moyo has rights to the freedom of association, assembly and expression as guaranteed by the Zimbabwean constitution. The arbitrary arrest, unlawful detention and harassment of Alan Moyo and other activists and political authorities create and sustain an environment of fear in Zimbabwe and discourages human rights defenders from fully participating in their duties and responsibilities. There is an urgent need to remind the Zimbabwean Government of its duty to protect and respect the rights of all its citizens, including those who criticise the state. SAHRDN and the Forum reiterate their deepest concern over the Zimbabwean authorities’ systematic use of legal and judicial harassment and a politicized judiciary to target all critical voices, including student leaders.
Please write to the authorities of Zimbabwe asking them to:
- End the judicial harassment, arbitrary detention, and inhumane treatment of Alan Moyo and other human rights defenders.
- Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Alan Moyo as well as all human rights defenders in Zimbabwe.
- Launch an independent investigation into the continued misuse of the criminal justice system, namely the consistent denial of bail to human rights defenders and legitimate opposition political members, especially in the Magistrate Courts.
- Remind the Harare administration of the provisions outlined in the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR), the Maputo Protocol, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
- Ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights instruments ratified by Zimbabwe.
- President of Zimbabwe, Emerson D Mnangagwa, Office of the President, Munhumutapa Building, Corner Sam Nujoma / Samora Machel. Harare, Zimbabwe. Tel: +263 24 2707091/7. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @edmnangagwa.
- Ziyambi Ziyambi, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. New Government Complex , SV Muzenda & Samora Machel Avenue 6th Floor, Block C, Harare, Zimbabwe. Tel+263-(0)242-774620/7. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kazembe Kazembe, Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Mukwati Building, Corner 4th Street & Selous, Harare. Tel: + 263 – 024 – 703641-4, Fax: +263 – 024 – 707231. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @Moha_Zim