Zimbabwe has rejected a recommendation from some United Nations member states to include homosexuality as a human right in the country’s Constitution, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa said 44 other “human rights” recommendations made by the member states were also rejected because they were not consistent with the country’s values.
But Minister Chinamasa said Government had accepted 130 other recommendations.
In a speech read on his behalf by his deputy, Senator Obert Gutu during a Universal Periodic Review Follow Up Workshop in Kadoma yesterday, the Minister said some of the recommendations were being made out of mischief.
The workshop, that was attended by stakeholders from different organisations, was aimed at drawing up and committing to a National Plan of Action for the implementation of the recommendations that Zimbabwe had set itself to implement.
The recommendations were made after Zimbabwe had presented its National Report in Geneva in October 2011 to the Human Rights Council’s Working Group where member countries were asked to make recommendations.
“Since they come as one recommendation, Governments then reject the entire recommendation as it cannot be separated,” Minister Chinamasa said.
“Some of such recommendations are combined for mischievous reasons so that States that reject a lot of recommendations will then be viewed in bad light.
“We have since made recommendations to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, during her visit to Zimbabwe that the Secretariat should consider advising States to frame their recommendations along distinct human rights thematic areas.”
Some of the recommendations rejected include that one France which implored Zimbabwe to decriminalise “as soon as possible sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex.” New Zealand had recommended for the repeal of the Public Order and Security Act, while the United States, Australia and Mexico want the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act repealed. Norway had also recommended the incorporation on human rights defenders in the national laws.
Some of the recommendations that were accepted, Minister Chinamasa said, would require a lot of resources to implement.
“Others require a considerable amount of resources which Government does not have,” he said.
“This fact alone persuades me to call upon all our co-operating partners as well as all men and women of good will to chip in and assist us move this process forward.”
The Minister said member states had four years to implement the recommendations before the next reporting cycle.
Some of the recommendations accepted include the need to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, operationalising the Human Rights Commission and adequately resourcing it. Minister Chinamasa said ratification and domestication of unratified and undomesticated UN treaties and instruments required study to determine if there were any gaps on the existing laws.
Secretary for Justice and Legal Affairs, Mr David Mangota said Governments had a right to reject recommendations which it views as absurd.
He said one of the recommendations was on the need to recognise the International Criminal Court which he said “was a glorified kangaroo court for its bias.”