Sunday, 6 November 2016

ZIM REJECTS GAY RIGHTS PUSH

Zimbabwe has rejected calls by European countries at the United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group meeting to embrace homosexuality, but accepted 142 other recommendations that are in line with the national Constitution.

Spain and Canada are among nations that recommended that Zimbabwe decriminalises same-sex marriages for consenting adults. The West has gone to the extent of offering budgetary support only to poor countries that embrace gay rights.

In an interview with The Herald shortly after the meeting last Friday, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe had shot down the recommendation on homosexuality.

“With regards to areas that we felt we would not accept, it is issues of gays and homosexuality, which is unlawful in our country,” said VP Mnangagwa.

“We rejected all those. There are a few countries from Europe which recommended that we re-consider our position with regard to adults of same sex marrying each other. That we have rejected.”

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Mrs Virginia Mabhiza added: “We have rejected two broad categories of recommendations, that is the one to do with marriage between people of the same sex and another one to do with the Rome Statutes. Those are the two that we have outrightly rejected.”

In his remarks on the adoption of the 142 recommendations, VP Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe was committed to promoting and protecting human rights.

“Regarding the recommendations proposed by the esteemed member states to assist us improve our human rights protection mechanisms and obligations, I hereby re-affirm the position enunciated by the chair-Rapporteur of the Troika, His Excellency Ljupcho Jivan Gjorgjinski, Charge de’ Affairres of the Permanent Mission of Macedonia to the United Nations, World Trade Organisation and other international organisations in Geneva,” said VP Mnangagwa.

“Indeed, out of the 260 recommendations tabled, my delegation has supported 142 and noted 18, while the rest have been deferred for further consideration.

“I would like to state that the Government of Zimbabwe will work tirelessly to scrutinise the deferred recommendations in order to come up with a concrete position. We will communicate our position to the council through the normal diplomatic channels and in the next session of the Human Rights Council,” he said.

“Finally, I wish to reiterate Zimbabwe’s commitment to upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms of its people and fulfilling its international human rights obligations.”
VP Mnangagwa expressed Government’s gratitude to the United Nations human rights machinery, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Zimbabwe and other development partners for helping Zimbabwe in meeting its human rights obligations.

He said Government remained committed to cooperating with the entire UN system to advance the overall global human rights agenda. herald

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