Call by Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum on Parliamentarians attending the African Pacific Caribbean –European Union Joint Parliamentary Assembly

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum) calls the JPA to stay engaged on the Zimbabwe issue through our challenging new times as a country, following up the strong and positive engagement we have seen by the JPA in the past. The Forum calls on this 17th Session of the ACP – EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly to make a follow up on the resolution on Zimbabwe adopted by the JPA on 28 November 2008 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, by supporting civil society’s call emphasizing to the new Government of Zimbabwe the importance of putting mechanisms in place that deal with past gross human rights violations to reach proper peace. There can be no peace without justice.
National healing initiatives The Forum recognizes national healing and cohesion as prerequisites for national and
economic stability. While we welcome the formation of the Organ on Healing by the Inclusive Government of Zimbabwe, we strongly believe that lasting peace can only attained if proper mechanisms that address past gross human rights wrongs are put in place through a consultative process that recognizes the views of victims and
survivors of past violations.

The Forum is mindful of the provisions of the Global Political Agreement, particularly article 7.1c which states that ”the new government shall give consideration to the setting up of a mechanism to properly advise on what measures
might be necessary and practicable to achieve national healing, cohesion and unity in respect of victims of pre and post independence political conflicts; and for national healing”. The Forum is also mindful of section 11 of the 28 November 2008 JPA resolution on Zimbabwe which calls for the ”new government to set up a neutral independent peace and reconciliation commission with a view of promoting national healing process that will review the crimes against humanity, torture, rape and other crimes committed during the internal conflict”.

Civil Society position
Zimbabwean Civil Society Organizations met on 9 and 10 September 2008 at a conference on Options for Transitional Justice in Zimbabwe and came up with minimum demands for any transitional arrangement in Zimbabwe.
These minimum demands included:
1. No amnesty for:
1. crimes against humanity, torture and other international crimes
2. rapes and other sexual based crimes
3. corruption and other crimes of greed
2. No extinguishing of civil claims against the perpetrators or the State.
3. No guarantee of job security for those found responsible for gross human rights violations and corruption
4. Comprehensive reparations to victims of human rights violations.
5. A credible and independent truth seeking inquiry into the conflicts of the past which holds perpetrators to account and which provides victims the opportunity to tell their stories with a view to promoting national healing.
6. Independent monitoring and reform of the operations and structure of the police, army, paramilitary, security coordination, administration of justice, food distribution and other organs of state involved in the implementation of
the transition.
7. Development of interim or transitional rules to guarantee the rule of law and upholding of all basic rights during the transition, including the right to engage in political activities. These rules must be enforceable. They must be encapsulated in amendments to the Constitution or an interim Constitution. Such rules must remain in place until free and fair elections are held and until a final constitution, endorsed by the people, is in place.
8. Achieve gender equity in official bodies and for transitional justice initiatives to pay particular attention to marginalized communities in Zimbabwe.

Brief background
Following several months of protracted negotiations between the political parties in Zimbabwe, an inclusive government was finally consummated on 11 February 2009. The setting up of this government rekindled hopes for an improved economy and political environment, including reduced levels of violence. The framework of this
government is premised on the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed by the political party principals on 15 September 2008. The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, a coalition of 16 human rights organizations in Zimbabwe, together with other civil society organizations in Zimbabwe, is closely monitoring compliance with the
GPA by the government and parties to the Agreement.

Design and development supported by HURIDOCS.