On Sunday, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay arrived in Zimbabwe where she is assessing the various allegations that the state is sponsoring violence. Various independent groups have compiled reports that include eyewitness accounts of systematic political assaults, rapes, beatings and torture in the last 10 years.
Pillay met with Patrick Chinamasa, Zimbabwe’s Justice and Legal Affairs Minister, at the Harare Parliament building. In the meeting, Chinamasa said the claims of state-sponsored torture and violence were false and noted that the allegations are set to be investigated by the proper authorities.
Neither the UN human rights chief or her visiting delegation spoke to the media after their visit with the justice minister, but Chinamasa was much obliged in discussing what transpired in their talks, according to AllAfrica.com
“Relatively, the meeting went very well. It was very frank, but very cordial. We made it clear that in our law homosexual activities are criminalised and that any person who commits homosexual activities will be arrested,” said Chinamasa.
“There is no State-sponsored violence, these are all lies. We told her that there are no torture chambers in Zimbabwe. We need to investigate some of these torture reports so that we find out if the person was involved in a personal accident and say they are torture wounds. We will not accept it and this has been happening.”
Chinamasa confirmed that same-sex partners found together will be immediately arrested because it is a criminal offence in the country.
Pillay also met with a number of other Zimbabwean officials, including Foreign Affairs Minister Nicholas Goche, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba, Supreme Court judge Justice Rita Makarau and secretary for Justice and Legal Affairs David Mangota. She held a joint meeting with Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the Zimbabwe Media Commission and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission at the ZEC offices.
“Ms. Pillay wanted to find out how the judiciary was operating in Zimbabwe and the challenges we are facing,” said Chidyausiku. “We explained to her everything and she even assisted us with ways of overcoming the problems.”
According to the Associated Press
, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai are expected to meet with Pillay sometime this week to discuss the allegations of human rights abuses at the diamond minds in the eastern region of Zimbabwe. Military members have been accused of shootings and torturing of villagers and workers.