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Gov't will not bow to gays - Chinamasa

Published:Tuesday | May 22, 2012 | 12:00 AM


Zimbabwe's justice minister rejected allegations that the country has state-sponsored violence and he vowed not to recognise gay rights after meeting with the United Nations (UN) human rights chief yesterday.

Patrick Chinamasa said he told UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay that Zimbabwe will arrest same-sex partners found committing homosexual acts.

Pillay arrived Sunday in Zimbabwe for a weeklong visit, the first by the world rights chief, to assess human rights violations. Chinamasa says Pillay was invited by the coalition government formed in 2009 after disputed, violent elections that were plagued by abuses blamed mainly on militants of President Robert Mugabe's party and loyalist police and troops.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Zimbabwe, Chinamasa said.

"We made it clear that in our law, homosexual activities are criminalised and that any person who commits homosexual activities will be arrested," he told reporters after meeting with Pillay in Harare.

He said claims of state-sponsored torture were untrue, and the allegations must be investigated.

"There is no state-sponsored violence, these are all lies. We told her that there are no torture chambers in Zimbabwe," he said.

But independent human rights groups including Amnesty International have compiled dossiers from witness accounts of systematic political violence, assaults, beatings, rape and torture over the past decade. At least 600 people have died, about 200 of them in violence during campaigning for the last national elections in 2008.