“During the five-day mission, Pillay is due to meet President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Justice and Legal Affairs and other ministers, as well as the Chief Justice, the Speaker of Parliament, President of the Senate and Thematic Committee of Human Rights,” Colville said.
Pillay will also meet with the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and members of civil society in the country. The spokesperson said Pillay is considering a number of field visits within and outside Harare, including the Marange diamond fields.
“During these visits, she will also meet local communities and civil society members in the area to listen to their experiences and views,” Colville said.
Civil society organisations allege human rights violations in the diamond-rich area adding hundreds lost their lives when government moved in to drive away illegal miners six years ago.
Government says the allegations are baseless. Pillay’s meeting with members of the ZHRC would jolt government into making sure the body is operationalised two years after the swearing in of commissioners.
ZHRC’s mandate include promotion of human rights awareness and development, monitoring and assessing human rights observance and investigating alleged violations of human rights.
ZHRC also assists the minister of Justice to prepare reports on Zimbabwe’s compliance with international human rights agreements to which Zimbabwe is a party.
Zimbabwe has over the years witnessed human rights violations and there are fears it will increase as the country heads for elections which President Robert Mugabe wants this year.
Prior to her mission in Zimbabwe, Pillay will visit South Sudan from May 8 to 12. Topics to be discussed will include concerns about the protection of civilians amid the hostilities that have flared up along the border with Sudan, as well as a range of other human rights issues, her office said.
Members of the ZHRC
ZHRC is chaired by Professor Reginald Austin and has Dr Ellen Sithole, Dr Joseph Kurebwa, Jacob Mudenda, Japhet-Ndabeni Ncube, Sheila Matindike, Elasto Mugwadi, Ona Jirira and Norma Niseni.