We, the Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) and the Human Rights Forum (HRF) a platform of community-based activists raising voices of the rural communities in South Africa and beyond, are deeply concerned at the continued flagrant gross human rights violations, targeting human rights defenders and activists in Zimbabwe. The situation has reached volatile levels where citizens are denied to enjoy the fundamental rights guaranteed in the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and several international treatise binding Zimbabwe. We are disheartened that human rights, good governance, and respect of the rule of law remain undermined in Zimbabwe. Human Rights Defenders and activist operate in hostile environments, impeding free and safe civic space for associations to express views and conduct peaceful assemblies.
We are bringing this petition to the attention of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) concerning the arbitrary arrest of Obert Masaraure on 14 June 2022, who is currently subjected to inhuman and deplorable condition at the Chikurubi Maximum Prison in Zimbabwe. Obert Masaraure was complying with his bail condition at the Harare Police Station for a charge of Treason which was instituted against him for participation in a teacher’s protests. It is a concern that while at the police station a criminal charge was pressed against him for the murder of the late Roy Issa, a member of ARTUZ who died in 2016. The resurrection of the late Roy death is condemned with contempt it deserves, since the findings of the inquest conducted by a Harare Magistrate Court concluded with no evidence implicating Obert Masaraure. In fact, Obert Masaraure was not present at the scene where the late Roy had succumbed to his death.

Harassment and intimidation of Obert Masaraure is a rampant tool used by the Zimbabwe State Security Agents to intimidate and shrink the democratic spaces established for raising gross human rights violations. The government is using this tactic to silence, those challenging impunity and unaccountability in adoption of draconian bills restricting associations, human rights defenders, activists to perform their duties in enabling environments and conduct peaceful assemblies. We are calling the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights to condemn the arbitrary arrest of Obert Masaraure, and urge the Government of Zimbabwe to do the following; (a) (1) Comply with obligations underpinning the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, and international human rights treaties binding Zimbabwe. To particularly implement the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights Guidelines on Freedom of Association and Assembly, which encourage State Parties to enact progressive laws and create enabling environments for associations and repeal all laws and policies infringing upon these
guidelines, (2) Immediately and unconditionally release Obert Masaraure from the Chikurubi Maximum
Prison. Drop all illegal charges instituted against him, including the shameful Treason charge
and the recent unsubstantiated Murder charge laid against him on 14 June 2022, (3) Support the Country Rapporteur to embark on a fact-finding mission on the human rights situation in Zimbabwe, including undertaking analysis of the laws, policies and administrative practices adopted to the shrink functioning of independent HRDs, CSOs and activists in the country with a view of overhauling a culture of authoritarianism and hostilities against
progressive human rights culture Urge the SADC Leadership to do the following (b) (4) Implement the SADC Treaties and Protocols, which are founded on human rights, democracy, rule of law, accountability and recognise the citizens of this sub-region as important stakeholders in regional integration. The Treaty is concordant with the idea of fostering closer relations among communities, associations, and people of the SADC region (5) Ensure Zimbabwe is held accountable for implementing policies and principles that undermine objectives of the SADC Treaties and Protocol

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