The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has called on the Zimbabwean government to allow public protests after the southern African country was found in breach of the African Charter.
The commission is ordering authorities and security forces to stop interfering with peaceful public protests.
The commission is mandated with protecting human and people’s rights by carrying out sensitization, public mobilisation, and information dissemination through seminars, symposia, conferences, and missions.
It also protects human and peoples’ rights through state reporting (including consideration of NGOs’ shadow reports), urgent appeals and other activities of special rapporteurs and working groups and missions.
The investigations came after the arrests of members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) during demonstrations.
WOZA responded by reporting the Zimbabwe government to the human rights body.
The ZANU PF government has for long been accused of cracking down on dissent in violation of the constitution which allows freedom of speech and association.
In January 2022, seventeen (17) teachers were arrested during a protest over salaries.
The state accused the teachers of participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of peace or bigotry as defined in section 37(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.
The teachers said the arrests were a sign that protests were banned in Zimbabwe.