Urgent Interventions

Arbitrary arrests of WOZA peaceful demonstrators


ZWE 002 / 0612 / OBS 064

Arbitrary arrests / Arbitrary detentions

Violations to freedom of peaceful assembly


June 29, 2012

The Observatory for the Protection of Human RightsDefenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights(FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgentintervention in the following situation in Zimbabwe.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sourcesabout the repression of a peaceful demonstration organised by Women and Men ofZimbabwe Arise (WOZA), a civic movement that defends women's rights andfreedoms in Zimbabwe. The clamp down led to the arrest and subsequent release of 101 of itsmembers, including Ms. Magodonga Mahlangu, oneof the leaders of WOZA.

Accordingto the information received, on June 27, 2012 in the morning, 101members of WOZA were arrested in the centre of Bulawayo,where protests were due to start at 11.00 a.m in ten differentlocations. All were taken to Bulawayo Central Police Station, many of whomhandcuffed. Their lawyers were denied access to their clients on threeoccasions.

The101 were released without charges between 4.30 p.m. and 5.30 p.m. on the same day, in batches of 5 people so as to prevent any massprotests. Ms. Magodonga Mahlangu was the last to be released at 5.30 p.m.

Previously,on June 26, 2012, eight members of the ZimbabweHuman Rights Association (ZimRights) were also arrested in Bulawayoas they were on their way back from a workshop to commemorate the 2012 UnitedNations International Day in Respect of Victims of Torture. They were alsodetained at Bulawayo Central Police Station for an hour, before being releasedwithout charges.

Onthe same day in Karoi, four other members of ZimRights were briefly detainedbefore being released without charges.

The Observatory expresses its deepest concern aboutthe increasing obstacles to freedom of assembly currently taking place in Zimbabwe.

The Observatory refers these cases to the UnitedNations Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights defenders and onfreedoms of assembly and association.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Zimbabweasking them to:

i. Guarantee in allcircumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. MagodongaMahlangu, of the other WOZA and ZimRights members who were detained, as well asall human rights defenders in the country;

ii. Put an end to any kinds of harassment, including at the judicial level,against WOZA and ZimRights members, as well as against all human rightsdefenders in Zimbabwe;

iii. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human RightsDefenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially:

1. its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individuallyand in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection andrealisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national andinternational levels”,

2. its Article 5 (a), which states that “everyone has the

2.right, individually and in association with others, at the national andinternational levels (…) to meet or assemblepeacefully;

3. and its Article12.2, which provides that the State shall “take all necessary measures toensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individuallyand in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, defacto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary actionas a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of his or her rights”;

iv. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rightsand fundamental freedoms in accordance with in accordance with the UniversalDeclaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rightsinstruments ratified by Zimbabwe.


· President of Zimbabwe,Mr. Robert G. Mugabe, Office of the President, Private Bag 7700, Causeway,Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax : +263 4 708 211 / +;

· Mr. Khembo Mohadi,co-Minister of Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, 11th Floor MukwatiBuilding, Private Bag 7703, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax : +263 4 726 716;

· Mr. Giles Mutsekwa,co-Minister of Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, 11th Floor MukwatiBuilding, Private Bag 7703, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax : +263 4 726 716;

· Mr. Patrick Chinamasa,Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ministry of Justice,Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Fax: + 263 4 77 29 99 / +263 4 252 155;

· Mr. Augustine Chihuri,Commissioner General, Police Headquarters, P.O. Box 8807, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax : +263 4 253 212 / 728 768 / 726 084;

· Mr. Justice JohannesTomana, Attorney-General, Office of the Attorney, PO Box 7714, Causeway,Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax: + 263 4 77 32 47;

· Mrs. Chanetsa, Office ofthe Ombudsman Fax: + 263 4 70 41 19;

· H.E. Mr. James Manzou,Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Zimbabwe to the United Nations in Geneva,Chemin William Barbey 27, 1292 Chambésy, Switzerland, Fax: + 41 22 758 30 44, Email:zimbabwemission@bluewin.ch;

· Embassy of Zimbabwein Brussels, 11 SQ Josephine Charlotte, 1200 Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 96 05 / + 32 2 775 65 10, Email: zimbrussels@skynet.be.

Please also write to the embassiesof Zimbabwe in your respective country.


Paris-Geneva, June 29, 2012

Kindlyinform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in yourreply.

TheObservatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of HumanRights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

Tocontact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

· Tel and fax FIDH + 33(0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

· Tel and fax OMCT + 41(0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29