After meeting with the UN human rights chief, the justice minister of Zimbabwe vowed not to recognise any gay rights, and also rejected all allegations that the country harbours state-sponsored violence.
Navi Pillai, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was in Harare today, in order to assess the human rights situation there, while, in a joint statement, 36 different groups said they will boycott a meeting with her arranged by the justice ministry at the Parliament, on account of it being “fraudulent.”
Patrick Chinamasa, the country’s justice minister claimed in a press conference that there was no state-sponsored violence, and that he had conveyed as much to Ms Pillai.
However, he added that Zimbabwe will continue to arrest members of the same-sex engaging in sexual activity which is illegal in the country.
Mr Chinamasa told reporters: “We made it clear that in our law homosexual activities are criminalized and that any person who commits homosexual activities will be arrested.”
The president Robert Mugabe has previously compared gay people to dogs, and has repeatedly rejected any push for gay rights, condemning Britain for supporting what he called “gay filth.” However, in an interview last year, the prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai appeared to have made a volte face, claiming instead that gay rights were human rights — a position he has since failed to corroborate.
Ms Pillay’s UN delegation has yet to respond to Mr Chinamasa’s comments.