Zimbabwe: Continental Unions Pile Pressure On for the Release of Caged Teachers

PRESSURE is mounting from teachers’ unions across the continent for the immediate release the arrested Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) members arrested early this week during a flash demonstration.

In a solidarity statement, the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), Secretary General, Skolola Dlamini condemned the arbitrary arrest of Orbert Masaraure, the President of ARTUZ and 15 other teachers arguing the comrades were exercising their right to peacefully demonstrate as enshrined under Section 59 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“We the teachers call for their unconditional release. Zimbabwe is a state party to the 1966 International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 21 governs the right of peaceful assembly. At regional level Zimbabwe is a state party to the 1981 African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and Article 11 provides for the rights of peaceful assembly. Under section 58 of the 2013 constitution of Zimbabwe, everyone has the right to freedom of assembly,” Dlamini said.

The union reminded the Zimbabwean government that under Section 59, everyone has the right to peacefully demonstrate and to present petitions.

The Lesotho Teachers Trade Union also noted with greatest concern the arrest of members of the teachers’ leadership and harassment of teachers who are members of ARTUZ when exercising their democratic right to protest openly.

“On behalf of our members and the broader teaching we call upon the government of Zimbabwe to respect democratic rights of its citizens in general and teachers in particular,” said the union.