This report reviews the state of the legislative and policy framework on the human rights defenders in Zimbabwe. The vulnerability of rights, despite the expansive provisions in the Constitution, calls for the need of human rights defenders to challenge openly rights violations and advocate fearlessly for their protection. The need for human rights defenders is in line with the international norms, particularly the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1998), a multi-level, multi-actor international protection regime for the rights of human rights defenders. Thus, at normative level, the human rights defenders are recognized. It is no doubt that “the recognition of local actors as key agents of change; the importance of promoting and protecting ‘civil society space’; the need to tailor protection interventions to meet the unique and specific needs of individuals, groups and communities; and the necessity of complementing reactive measures with efforts to build a ‘safe and enabling environment’ for the defense of human rights”2 is fundamental in any society. Human rights defenders generally receive backlash from an authoritarian state for their work.

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