gtag('config', 'UA-12595121-1'); Amnesty International throws toys out of the pram over Zimbabwe patriotism law – The Zimbabwe Mail

Amnesty International throws toys out of the pram over Zimbabwe patriotism law

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HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa has signed the controversial Criminal Law Codification and Reform Amendment Bill into law, and this has raised tensions between Zimbabwe and the West and pro-Western organisations.

Responding to the news, Khanyo Farisè, Amnesty International’s Deputy Research Director for Southern Africa, said: “The signing of the ‘Patriotic Bill’ into an Act by the President is a grave attack on the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.

“The enactment of the Bill provides yet more evidence that the Zimbabwean authorities are bent on further shrinking civic space and silencing dissent.

Khanyo Farisè who is a former Africa Advocacy Officer of the Gay rights group in South Africa OutRight Action International, said; “We call on President Mnangagwa to reverse his decision and immediately ensure the repeal of the law to demonstrate the commitment of his government to human rights. His government must fully and effectively respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights of everyone to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association.

Nokukhanya (Khanyo) Farisè - Deputy Regional Director (Research) for Southern Africa - Amnesty International | LinkedIn
Khanyo Farisè

“The Act fails to meet the requirements of legality, proportionality, and necessity. The penalties provided by the Act include loss of citizenship, denial of the right to vote and the death penalty. Imposing these penalties on people simply for peacefully exercising their human rights is patently unconstitutional and incompatible with Zimbabwe’s international human rights obligations.”

Muzzling dissent

The Criminal Law Codification and Reform Amendment Act – also known as the “Patriotic Bill” – contains overly broad provisions as it criminalises anyone caught “wilfully injuring the sovereignty and national interest of Zimbabwe” and those who participate in meetings with the intention of promoting calls for economic sanctions against the country.

The bill was first published in the Government Gazette on 23 December last year.

The Bill was later passed by the Senate on 7 May this year , with the lower house of the National Assembly then passing it on 31 May. It was signed into law by the President on 14 July.