SADC 'failed' Zimbabweans in 2016 - HRW

2017-01-13 15:15


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Cape Town – The Southern African Development Community (SADC) failed to raise concerns about deteriorating human rights conditions in Zimbabwe in 2016, Human Rights Watch has said in its World Report 2017.

The annual review of human rights issues from around the world was released in Washington on Thursday.

"When SADC leaders met for their annual summit in Swaziland from August 29 to 31, 2016, they did not press [President Robert] Mugabe's government to prevent abuses and respect human rights in the country," the report said.

Read the full report here

It highlighted how Mugabe's government intensified repression against thousands of people who "peacefully protested human rights violations and the deteriorating economic situation", thus, disregarding the rights provisions in the country's 2013 constitution.

The police responded with brutal force and ordered a ban on demonstrations.  

Opposition against Mugabe's 36-year reign grew in 2016, with a surge of public demonstrations, triggered by an economic crisis that left banks short of cash and the government struggling to pay its workers.

A one-day strike called by trade unions and Christian pastor Evan Mawarire, shut down offices, schools and some government departments.

"Police abuse increased, and there was excessive use of force to crush dissent. Human rights defenders, civil society activists, journalists, and government opponents, were harassed, threatened or faced arbitrary arrest by police. Widespread impunity continues for abuses by police and state security agents," said the report.

The president, the report said, publicly attacked judges for "reckless" rulings that allowed public protests against his rule, "further eroding judicial independence". 

Read more on:    hrw  |  sadc  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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