Zim must sign UN Convention on Torture: EU

via Zim must sign UN Convention on Torture: EU – DailyNews Live by Lloyd Mbiba  18 DECEMBER 2013 

The European Union (EU) has called on Zimbabwe to sign the UN Convention on Torture.

Aldo Dell’Ariccia, the EU ambassador, was speaking at the commemoration of International Human Rights Day.

“We appreciate that you have ratified a significant number of international treaties, however, the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment or Punishment is still to be ratified and I think it would be very important if you do that,” Dell’Ariccia said.

Zimbabwe has refused to join the ranks of 147 nations who have signed-up to the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

These 147 nations include 47 out of 53 African states. Of the African states that have signed, 12 are from the 15 Sadc member states — Angola, Tanzania and Zimbabwe are the only three that have not signed.

So Zimbabwe continues to be shamefully out of step with the rest of the region and the continent.

The EU envoy also called for abolition of the death penalty.

“Let me finish by bringing to your attention the fact that EU considers the abolishment of death penalty as a factor that contributes to human dignity and progressive development of human rights,” he said.

“In this sense, we would like to encourage the government of Zimbabwe to ratify the second optional protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aiming at the abolishment of death penalty.”

Emmerson Mnangagwa, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister, in a speech read by his deputy Fortune Chasi, said sanctions were hampering the enjoyment of human rights in Zimbabwe.

“We need as a country to be economically stable for it is under a stable economic environment that human rights thrive,” Chasi said.

“Zimbabwe is currently facing debilitating economic sanctions and we will continue to ask that they be lifted to enable us to do much more for our people.

We therefore plead that serious considerations are given to the lifting of sanctions to enable a much better operating environment for human rights.”

He said his ministry will work to operationalise the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, the first body tasked with investigating rights abuses.