By Takunda Mandura
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has urged the government to refrain from alleged coordinated and systematic attack on civil society organizations and instead to focus on fixing the economy.
Addressing a press conference Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum chairperson Jestina Mukoko said the government should stop the attacks as they are nothing short of human rights violations.
“Stop crackdown on civil society and human rights defenders. Pay urgent attention to the economy which is threatening the livelihoods and eroding the economic rights of the people.
“The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has noted with great regret the state’s coordinated and systematic attack on civil society organizations in Zimbabwe through falsehoods in the media and arbitrary arrests of civil society leaders.
“These moves are shameful and in violation of the fundamental rights and freedoms which the Zimbabwean leaders are sworn to respect and protect,” she said.
Mukoko added that the state must respect the constitution, uphold human rights and stop criminalising human rights work.
“Refrain from criminalizing the work of civil society and allow the CSOs and human rights defenders to do their work without surveillance, threats, intimidation or malicious arrests. Refrain from attacking the dignity of human right defenders and violating their privacy,” said Mukoko.
The human rights defender also threatened to take legal action against some state media organisations whom she accused of publishing malicious information.
“The forum calls on the named publications to immediately retract their falsehoods against civil society and to stop the malicious damaged on people’s dignity. Failure to do so will lead to legal action against the publications, the reporters and editors,” she said.