US Labor Union Urges President Mnangagwa To Drop Charges Against Masaraure
The United States’ largest trade union, the American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organisations (AFL-CIO), has petitioned President Emmerson Mnangagwa to drop charges against Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure.
Masaraure was arrested at Harare Central police station on 14 June in connection with the death of his friend in 2016. AFL-CIO believes that the charges are solely motivated by Masaraure’s legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights.
He was arrested when he visited the police station as part of conditions set for his bail in a case of treason and participating in an unlawful teachers’ protest.
The arrest came a few days after the ARTUZ leader had received an award in Dublin for his contribution to the human rights sector and a few days before planned protests.
In a letter seen by NewZimbabwe.com dated June 22, 2022, written by AFL-CIO international director, Catherine Feingold accused Harare of employing “judicial harassment” against human rights defenders. The letter said:
Get Pindula News on our WhatsApp Channel
Subscribe here: https://whatsapp.com/channel/0029Va84dngJP21B2nWeyM3v
On behalf of the 12,5 million members of the AFL-CIO, the largest union federation in the United States, I write to express our deep concern on the continued violation of worker and human rights in your country, including the detention of Obert Masaraure, the national president of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ).
The recent incident is part of a pattern of violations against ARTUZ and its members which started in December 2018 and have continued to escalate.
These incidents come in a context of harassment and detentions committed against human rights defenders in Zimbabwe in reprisal for their work on the right to education in rural areas, labor and other civil rights.
The US labour group added that the “ongoing human rights violations by security agents and recognises them as part of an effort to clamp down on freedoms, specifically against human rights defenders fighting for the right to education in rural areas, labor and other civil rights in Zimbabwe.”