STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY WITH ZIMBABWE CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE PASTORAL LETTER OF 14 AUGUST 2020
As the Young Lawyers Association of Zimbabwe, a non-political association made up of members of different religious beliefs, we stand in solidarity with the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference and wholeheartedly agree with the contents of its pastoral letter of 14 August 2020.
Further to the same, we condemn the vitriolic response issued out by the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting as well as the comments made by the Secretary of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting on social media and in the press.
The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference have every right, as representatives of members of the Catholic Church to make statements on behalf of their members, and to advocate for the rights of their members as citizens of Zimbabwe.
We further acknowledge the biblical call on members of the Christian faith to “learn to do good; seek justice and correct oppression” as provided for in Isaiah 1:17.
We stand against the violence, intimidation and threats on the rights of Zimbabweans, and continue to call for the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe to uphold the provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the rule of law.
This includes upholding the rights of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of movement and protecting the rights of accused persons to legal representation of their choice and to free and fair hearings before an impartial court.
As members of the legal profession in Zimbabwe, we will continue to offer our services to those who have been unjustly imprisoned, and those who face threats to their inalienable rights.
As per John Lewis, to whom the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference attributed the heading of their pastoral letter:
“When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something”.
The right to speak up is enshrined in the supreme law of Zimbabwe, and we call on the Government to respect the same.
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