World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Zimbabwe: NGO Act an outrageous attack on rights

Zimbabwe: NGO Act is an outrageous attack on human rights

Amnesty International is outraged at the enactment, yesterday, of a new law, which bans foreign human rights organizations from working in Zimbabwe and could be used to close down local human rights groups.

"The law is a direct attack on human rights in Zimbabwe and should be immediately repealed," Kolawole Olaniyan, Director of Amnesty International’s Africa Program, urged today, International Human Rights Day.

The Non-governmental Organizations Act (NGO Act) specifically targets organizations that "promote and protect human rights". The Act also gives the government sweeping powers to interfere with the operations of any NGO in Zimbabwe through a government-appointed NGO Council. Under the Act, Zimbabwean NGOs are prohibited from receiving any foreign funding to engage in human rights work.

"Preventing local NGOs from receiving foreign funding for human rights work would effectively mean the end of many vital human rights programs, as there is so little local funding available," Kolawole Olaniyan said. "This Act is a disaster for victims of human rights violations and human rights defenders. It is wholly inconsistent with Zimbabwe's obligations under international human rights laws to which it is party. We have grave fears that those organizations that have done most to raise awareness of the human rights situation in Zimbabwe will now be targeted for closure," he added.

Amnesty International believes that the legislation will be applied selectively, as has been the case with other repressive legislation introduced over the last four years. The Media Information Commission established by the 2002 Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) has already overseen severe repression of independent media in Zimbabwe.

"If the NGO Act is enforced across the board, tens of thousands of people being assisted by NGO programs could suffer. Reputable and dedicated human rights organizations in Zimbabwe provide vital medical and psychological care and legal advice to victims of human rights violations. Most victims have nowhere else to turn in a country where unemployment is above 70 per cent and the health service has been severely eroded," Kolawole Olaniyan said.

The NGO Act replaces the Private Voluntary Organizations (PVO) Act, itself a very repressive law introduced during the colonial period.

Amnesty International is calling for the immediate repeal of the NGO Act. Any legislation governing the operation of NGOs must be consistent with Zimbabwe's human rights obligations.


On 9 December 2004 the Parliament of Zimbabwe also enacted the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act and the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act, both of which also contain clauses that violate internationally recognized human rights.

View all documents on Zimbabwe

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news