Call for inputs from the Special Rapporteur on the rights of freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Mr. Clément Nyaletsossi Voule on the upcoming country visit to Zimbabwe (17 to 27 September 2019)

When will the Special Rapporteur visit Zimbabwe?

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of freedom peaceful assembly and of association, Mr. Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, will undertake an official county visit to Zimbabwe of 17 to 27 September 2019 following an invitation extended by the Government.

What is the objective of the visit of the Special Rapporteur?

Country visits are conducted in a spirit of cooperation and dialogue. The objective is to allow the Special Rapporteur to gain first-hand understanding of issues related to the promotion and protection of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, including positive developments and efforts made to address any remaining challenges. The Special Rapporteur is also keen on gathering good practices in law and practice relating to the exercise of both rights and how they are enshrined in the democracy and rule of law in the country

What are the issues of interest of the Special Rapporteur when undertaking country visits?

The Special Rapporteur will assess issues related to his mandate and the exercise of the rights of freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in the country. Generally, during country visits, the Special Rapporteur pays attention to a number of issues, including:

- Legal frameworks in place to guarantee the exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association (including key cases from the judiciary);

- Procedural and practical measures for holding peaceful assemblies, including issues of authorisation versus notification and access to public spaces; legal and practical limitations to the exercise of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly;

- Facilitation and management of assemblies by law enforcement officials, including relevant guidelines and training; internal and external oversight mechanism in case of excessive use of force by law enforcement officials;

- Human rights monitoring of assemblies;

- Formation and functioning of associations; ability of associations to access financial resources; termination, suspension and dissolution of associations;

- Situation of labour unions, e.g. right to join labour unions, right to strike, right to collective bargaining; extent of possible anti-union activities (discourse, policy, legislation, practice); exercise of right to freedom of association by migrant workers and other groups are risk;

- Campaign and political party financing and how this may affect the freedom of association and public participation; regulation of political party financing compared to other entities, including private sector; other associations engaged in campaign financing and what role they play;

- Possible instances of surveillance of associations, protest and social movements working on human rights, environmental/trade/labour/economic issues;

- Possible impact of counter-terrorism measures and emergency legislation on the enjoyment of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, including the possible impact of counter-terrorism policy on civil society associations in other countries;

- Situation of groups often most at risk when exercising or seeking to exercise the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and/or of association: persons with disabilities; youth, including children; women; sexual minorities; members of other minority groups; indigenous peoples; and migrant workers;

- Effective remedy and accountability for violations of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.

In this context, the Special Rapporteur is looking for information on the following points related to his mandate amongst others:

  • Good practices in law and practice in relation to the exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
  • Key issues and challenges when exercising the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
  • Suggestion of places to visit in the country outside the capital.
  • Relevant organisations and individuals to meet in the context of his mandate.
  • Any other relevant information related to the Special Rapporteur’s mandate that you consider to be timely for the preparation of the visit.

Who can engage with this visit and how?

During the visit, in addition to government authorities, the Special Rapporteur wishes to meet with independent institutions working on human rights, civil society actors, human rights defenders and other stakeholders working on the rights of freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. The dates and venue of meetings that will be conveyed by the Special Rapporteur with civil society representatives will be shared in due course, please contact us to freeassembly@ohchr.org should you be interested in participating in these meetings.

Ahead of the visit, civil society actors and all interested stakeholders are encouraged to submit general inputs and specific proposals in relation to the above mentioned points to freeassembly@ohchr.org before, during and after the visit but. Kindly indicate in the subject line of your email “Submission for country visit to Zimbabwe”. Please submit your inputs before 1 September 2019.

What would be the outcome of the visit?

At the end of the visit the Special Rapporteur will brief the government on his preliminary findings and will deliver an end of mission statement during a press conference on the last day of the visit.

The Special Rapporteur will present a report to the 44th session of the Human Rights Council in June 2020.

For more information on country and other visits of the Special Procedures, visit: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/Pages/CountryandothervisitsSP.aspx

For more information on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, visit: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/AssemblyAssociation/Pages/SRFreedomAssemblyAssociationIndex.aspx