The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, was on a ten-day official visit to Zimbabwe.
Voule came at the invitation of the Zimbabwean government and his visit was the first such mission by an independent expert appointed by the Human Rights Council.
On Friday, 27 September 2019, the UN human rights chief released his much-anticipated report on his mission to Zimbabwe. He said:
The change in leadership in Zimbabwe two years ago and its promised ‘new dispensation’ – which reaffirms the aspiration to bring the country forward in terms of democratic processes, civic space and the realisation of human rights for all – must be put into action now.
Voule urged the government of Zimbabwe to engage in genuine dialogue with opposition political parties, citizens and protest movements. He said:
My role is to encourage the authorities that genuine dialogue with the political class and the population, including protest movements, is the only way forward to resolve such a crisis.
He also called for police officers and soldiers implicated in human rights violations to be held to account for their actions. Added Voule:
In cases where there have been human rights violations committed by police or the military, including in instances of the excessive use of force, it is vital that perpetrators are held accountable.
To foster impunity is to foster distrust among the population, alienating them from the Government, and quashing their hopes of meaningful change in the future.