End abuses, group tells Zimbabwe

2013-11-26 07:38
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. (AP)

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Harare - Zimbabwe has failed to end human rights abuses despite adopting a new constitution that enshrines democratic rights, global rights watchdog Amnesty International said on Monday.

Zimbabwe's constitution, accepted in a national referendum in March, requires the repeal of sweeping security laws used by loyalist police to target long-time President Robert Mugabe's opponents but the government hasn't yet done so.

The group said intimidation and arbitrary arrests of rights activists and critics of Mugabe persist.

Amnesty's report, titled "Zimbabwe: Agenda for The Government 2013-2018", said despite the new constitution police ahead of the July election raided offices and seized equipment of civic groups carrying out voter education as well as those viewed to be critical of Mugabe's rule.

Several rights activists were arbitrarily arrested, unlawfully detained, faced trumped up criminal charges and unreasonably denied bail with some spending long periods in prison waiting to appear in court, said the group.

"In all the cases documented, the activists were acquitted or the state abandoned the cases, or the cases are pending," the report said.

Mugabe's government should use the new constitution as "a golden opportunity" to improve its poor human rights record and allow for freedom of expression, said Noel Kututwa, Amnesty's deputy director for southern Africa.

Mugabe’s new government

"The new Constitution offers a golden opportunity for the government to begin to right the wrongs of the past, to deliver justice for its people and to allow freedom of expression. With political will, all that is possible," Kututwa said.

Following Mugabe's re-election in the disputed polls in July, police continued to breach the new constitution by breaking up a demonstration by women activists and banning a youth march to mark World Peace Day in September.

Baton-flailing police in Harare dispersed activists from Women of Zimbabwe Arise, or WOZA, who were calling for action to improve living standards for Zimbabwe's poorest. Several members of the group were arrested for questioning in the second city of Bulawayo.

The police defended their actions describing the country's current political environment as not "conducive" for marches.

Kututwa said Mugabe's new government should send "a clear signal" that it will end rights violations.

"The rights to freedom of expression and association of all those working to promote or protect human rights must be respected," he said. "The government must immediately and unconditionally drop the charges against anyone arrested for exercising their internationally guaranteed rights."

Read more on:    amnesty international  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.