Human Rights Defenders criminalised in Zimbabwe

JOHANNESBURG – Zimbabwe human rights activist and Director of Peace Project, Jestina Mukoko says human right’s activists in the country are criminalised.

Mukoko was speaking at the 39th International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) congress held at Constitutional Hill, in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

Mukoko says working as a Human Rights Defender in Zimbabwe, one runs the risk of being wrongfully arrested.

“You could be brutalised or wrongfully arrested or in fact actually disappear.”

She adds as a member of the Human Rights Defenders in the country, one stands a chance of suffering from post-traumatic stress.

“Human Rights Defenders have been victimised for the work they do.”

Mukoko says a number of obstructions are put in place to make the work of activists hard.

“Human Rights Defenders come face to face with a number of requirements (to access communities), which in most cases they are unlawful,” says Mukoko.

“Journalists have also been arrested,” Mukoko says, for covering the police brutality in Zimbabwe

She states Human Rights Defenders are required to sign a memorandum of understanding in order to engage communities at local government.

“If Human Rights Defenders do go through the requirements, when they engage communities, secrets agents sit in the meeting and restrict free follow of ideas.”

Mukoko adds Human Rights Defenders victims are charged with obstruction of justice.

“Journalists have also been arrested,” Mukoko says, for covering the police brutality in Zimbabwe.

She adds Gays and Lesbians have also been victimised in the country following the recent protests in the country.

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