Amnesty International welcomes ruling on draconian in Zimbabwe

BY ELIA NTALI

Harare, Zimbabwe- Amnesty International Zimbabwe has applauded the landmark ruling by the Supreme Court to overturn the draconian Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

Executive Director of Amnesty International Zimbabwe, Jessica Pwiti said the decision by the Supreme Court gave hope of a new chapter for human rights in the country.

“The landmark decision by the Supreme Court is a welcome step which we hope opens a new chapter for human rights in the country. For far too long this piece of legislation has been used to systematically harass, arbirtrarily detain and torture people seen as opposition supporters or those trying to expose human rights violations. The fact it is no longer on the statute books is cause for celebration” said Pwiti

Pwiti said it is now the responsibility of the relevant authority to ensure implementation of the court’s decision.

“But it’s now the responsibility of the police and other relevant authorities to ensure that the court’s decision is adequately implemented. This means facilitating an environment in which the right to peaceful assembly is ensured without undue restrictions as guaranteed in both national and international law” added Pwiti

POSA was enacted in 2002 as a replacement of the colonial Law and Order Maintenance Act (LOMA) which was used to suppress human rights.

The law has been routinely used by the Zimbabwean authorities to prevent and disperse peaceful demonstration.

Handing down the judgement, Justice Rita Makarau said the legislation in question was open to abuse by the state.

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