The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association has criticised the Zimbabwean government for allegedly trying to overregulate CSOs under the guise of adhering to international principles.
Zimbabwe is in the process of enacting the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Amendment Bill, a law that will regulate the operations of CSOs in the country.
In December last year, three UN Special Rapporteurs implored the Zimbabwean government not to proceed with the law.
A report presented by Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association at the Human Rights Council’s 50th session held between June 13 and July 8 2022 reads in part:
The Special Rapporteur and other mandate holders have repeatedly raised concerns about overregulation of the sector in the guise of fighting terrorism and countering money laundering.
Legislation being enacted or proposed is often disproportionate to the risk and is frequently exploited by governments to curtail freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression e.g., the Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) and Zimbabwe.
The government says the enactment of the PVO Amendment Bill is in compliance with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
FATF Recommendation 8 requires that the laws and regulations that govern non-profit organisations be reviewed so that these organisations cannot be abused for the funding of terrorism.