We're happy to host Pillay – Zimbabwe
21 May 2012, 12:37
Harare – Zimbabwean Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
says his country is happy to host the UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights Navi Pillay "because we have nothing to hide in terms of human
Pillay arrived on Sunday in Zimbabwe on the first mission to the troubled southern African nation by the world rights chief.
quoted in the state Sunday Mail newspaper controlled by Mugabe
loyalists, said Pillay was first invited to Zimbabwe last year but
couldn't make that trip.
"We showed our commitment by extending another invitation in February and we are happy she has accepted," he said.
said he was not concerned by submissions Pillay was expected to receive
from rights activists and non-governmental organisations.
are happy we will be able to host her because we have nothing to hide in
terms of human rights issues. We are not worried about what our
detractors will say," he said.
She will meet with Mugabe, political leaders and rights groups, said Chinamasa.
is scheduled to hold talks with Mugabe, Tsvangirai, defence and service
chiefs, judges, lawmakers and leaders of rights groups. She will hear
reports of alleged human rights abuses at diamond fields in eastern
Zimbabwe where the military has been accused of shootings and torture of
villagers driven from mining areas.Human rights
said Pillay's weeklong trip is at the invitation of the three-year
coalition government formed in 2009 after disputed, violent elections
plagued by rights abuses blamed mainly on militants of President Robert Mugabe
's party and loyalist police and troops.
"I am here to assess the human rights situation," Pillay told reporters at the Harare airport late on Sunday.
2009, chief UN torture investigator Manfred Nowak was barred entry at
the Harare airport after claims he was not officially cleared for the
In 2005, another special envoy of the UN secretary-general
angered Mugabe by criticising a slum clearance programme that left 700
000 people homeless in urban strongholds of the former opposition led by
, now the prime minister in the power-sharing coalition.
a decade of political and economic turmoil, Mugabe's party has been
accused of trampling on human and democratic rights, vote rigging and
targeting opponents and independent journalists in assaults and
Independent rights groups say at least 200 people,
mostly opposition supporters, died in violence surrounding the last
national polls in 2008 that Tsvangirai's party said it won. Tsvangirai
boycotted a presidential run-off vote against Mugabe, citing spiraling
violence against tens of thousands of voters.
Pillay, who served
as a judge in South Africa, has been at the forefront of the
documentation of reported killings in Syria during uprisings against the
government. She was also a former judge at the International Criminal
Court and head of the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda's 1994
Pillay ends her Zimbabwe visit on Friday.