Joint oral statement Zimbabwe UPR outcome
On 1 July 2022, Lawyers for Lawyers and the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) delivered an oral statement during the 50th Session of the UN Human Rights Council. During this session, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Outcome Report of Zimbabwe was adopted. Lawyers for Lawyers had already submitted a joint submission for the UPR-session of Zimbabwe.
The statement reads as follows:
We welcome the decision of Zimbabwe to accept some of the recommendations made at its 3rd UPR related to the protection of human rights defenders, including lawyers. We call upon Zimbabwe to effectively implement these recommendations without delay.
A fundamental aspect of the rule of law and an effectively functioning justice system is access to legal representation by an independent legal profession. Lawyers must be able to carry out their professional duties without harassment, intimidation or improper interference, as outlined in the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.
In Zimbabwe, lawyers are often targeted with intimidation and harassment in the form of threats and intimidation by law enforcement, with some lawyers even being subjected to physical attacks. Lawyers in Zimbabwe have also been subjected to judicial harassment, arrest, detention and prosecution in connection to their professional duties.
Furthermore, our monitoring demonstrates how Zimbabwean authorities do not always respect the right to freedom of expression and assembly of lawyers. This is evidenced by patterns of arrests and criminal prosecutions against lawyers in Zimbabwe who exercise their right to freedom of expression and participation in peaceful protests.
We urge Zimbabwe to:
- Effectively implement all supported UPR recommendations, without delay;
- Take immediate measures to safeguard the independence of lawyers and provide
protection against any form of undue interference with their work, and
- Take effective measures to protect the right of freedom of expression and assembly
Thank you, Mr. President.
See recording of statement at UN Web TV: https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1z/k1z4rfpogy (28:29 min)
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