Responding to the news that President Emmerson Mnangagwa has signed into law the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Amendment Bill, 2022, commonly referred to as the “Patriotic Bill”, Khanyo Farisè, Amnesty International’s Deputy Research Director for Southern Africa, said:
“The signing of the ‘Patriotic Bill’ into an Act by the President is a grave attack on the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.
“The enactment of the Bill is stronger evidence that the Zimbabwean authorities are bent on further shrinking civic space and silencing dissent.
“We call on President Mnangagwa to reverse his decision and immediately ensure the repeal of the law to demonstrate the commitment of his government to human rights. His government must fully and effectively respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights of everyone to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association.
We call on President Mnangagwa to reverse his decision and immediately ensure the repeal of the law to demonstrate the commitment of his government to human rights.Khanyo Farisè, Amnesty International’s Deputy Research Director for Southern Africa
“The Act fails to meet the requirements of legality, proportionality, and necessity. The penalties provided by the Act include loss of citizenship, denial of the right to vote and the death penalty. Imposing these penalties on people simply for peacefully exercising their human rights is patently unconstitutional and incompatible with Zimbabwe’s international human rights obligations.”
The Act fails to meet the requirements of legality, proportionality, and necessity.Khanyo Farisè
The Criminal Law Codification and Reform Amendment Act, 2022, contains overly broad provisions as it criminalizes participating in meetings where sanctions and military interventions are considered or planning to subvert, upset, overthrow and overtake a constitutionally elected government.
The Act was first published as a Bill in the Government Gazette on 23 December 2022. The Bill was passed by the lower house of the National Assembly on 31 May 2023 and sailed through Senate on 7 May 2023. It was signed by the President on 14 July 2023.
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