UNITED Nations Watch executive director Hillel Neue yesterday assured Zimbabweans that they were not alone in their suffering amid human rights abuses perpetrated on political activists and civilians in the country.
Zimbabwe is ranked among the worst countries in the world in terms of human rights abuses given its record of arbitrary arrests of dissenting voices, torture and abduction of political opponents and attacks on human rights defenders, workers and political activists.
“Our responsibility is to ensure that those who are oppressed and those that have risked everything to speak out the truth from prison cell, Harare, Havana and Hong Kong know that they are not alone,” Neue said, while addressing a virtual meeting of the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy 2021.
“Our responsibility is to raise global awareness and ensure that this translates to change on the ground including by the release of political prisoners.
“Our responsibility is to ensure the fight for democracy is a constant commitment. Our responsibility is to ensure that the appalling human rights situations that we have learnt about over the last two days are put squarely on the UN agenda.”
His message comes at a time when the opposition and human rights activists in Zimbabwe are celebrating the release of MDC activists, Last Maengahama and Tungamirai Madzokere who clocked eight years in prison for a 2011 murder of a police officer for which they were acquitted last week by the Supreme Court.
Critics described their incarceration as political persecution by the Zanu PF government.
Addressing the same summit, #ThisFlag founder Evan Mawarire took a swipe at the government, accusing it of destroying the lives of citizens.
Mawarire said the human rights abuses and mis-governance in the country were disheartening.
“Zimbabwe gives you both excitement and disappointment, the excitement comes from the fact that the youth have the potential to build Zimbabwe into something great, and the disappointment comes from the fact and realisation that our liberators who went to war, at least not all of them, those that survived that are in government today have become our oppressors,” Mawarire said.
“In Zimbabwe, those that govern are like a mother hen that eats its own eggs; it’s disappointing and heart-breaking. It continues to eat the future of its own children.”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson, George Charamba, however, said they would not be moved by views of a “freaky” opinion by an individual at a summit.
“Mind you a summit has several participants holding different opinions. We are a State party to the UN and we are not moved by a freak opinion from an individual. Do you expect a whole State party to answer to an individual? We will wait for the summit resolution, that is what we will respond to. The documentation that matters is the summit resolution and note that Zimbabwe will respond,” Charamba said.