Zimbabwe’s deteriorating human rights record following the arrest of two clergymen Pastor Phillip Mugadza and Evan Mawarire has once again caught the attention of the United States.
Mugadza and Mawarire who are facing charges of criminal nuisance and subverting a constitutionally elected government respectively are currently in detention after they were denied bail at the Harare Magistrates Court.
In a statement, the US Embassy in Harare said the arrest of the two is serious violation of human rights as this could intimidate citizens from exercising their constitutionally proven right of freedom of expression.
“The United States is extremely concerned by the continuing deterioration of the human rights in Zimbabwe, as evidenced by the unwarranted arrest and continued detention of Pastor Evan Mawarire and the incarceration of Pastor Philip Patrick Mugadza.
“The US government unequivocally believes in the basic right of freedom of speech and calls on government of Zimbabwe to respect the human rights of all Zimbabwean citizens which are enshrined in the constitution. We believe that the basic right of Zimbabwean to freedom of speech, be it in public, through print media or social media, should be protected within and outside Zimbabwe’s borders,” reads the statement.
The US government further called on the Zimbabwean government to respect the rule of law and legal due process provided by the constitution.
“We fear these recent actions will further limit the right of Zimbabweans to exercise their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly which are similarly protected under Zimbabwe’s international human rights obligations and are core values of any functional democracy,” the statement further stated.