United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of
Association, Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, following a visit to Zimbabwe in 2019, noted in a
subsequent report that Zimbabwe was suffering from political polarisation and poor governance.
The Special Rapporteur noted then, that civic space continued to deteriorate, re-establishing an
environment of fear and persecution.
The UN Special Rapporteur’s report came on the backdrop of his visit to Zimbabwe on 17 - 27
September 2019 at the invitation of the Government. The purpose of the visit was to assess the
exercise, promotion and protection of the rights under his mandate in a moment of transition
following the adoption of the new Constitution in 2013 and the change of leadership in
He urged the government to take action to end corruption, and tellingly, to improve the human
rights situation and ensure accountability and rule of law to encourage the lifting of “measures”
imposed on Zimbabwe.
The Special Rapporteur recommended for the repeal of legislation that is inconsistent with the
Constitution particularly that affecting the exercise of fundamental freedoms.
He also said steps should be taken to ensure that all those monitoring assemblies, including
journalists, media workers and human rights defenders, are allowed to do so and are protected
at all times during assemblies and that violations are duly investigated.
The government was also urged to refrain from introducing restrictions on access to and th e use
of the internet, including shutdowns.
His observations then, came prior to the gazetting of the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO)
Amendment Bill at the end of 2021.
If enacted, the PVO Amendment Bill threatens to muzzle the work of civic society and negatively
impact on the operating media freedom and freedom of expression and free expression
environment ahead of Zimbabwe’s 2023 general elections.


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