SADC Should Respond To Intensified Crackdown On Opposition In Zimbabwe - Human Rights Watch

1 week agoMon, 08 Jul 2024 15:07:09 GMT
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SADC Should Respond To Intensified Crackdown On Opposition In Zimbabwe - Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch has called on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to speak out against the intensified crackdown on the opposition and civil society organizations by Zimbabwean authorities, ahead of the regional bloc’s upcoming summit in Harare.

According to the rights group, since assuming power in a military coup in 2017, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has committed serious human rights violations and demonstrated a failure or unwillingness to institute lasting human rights reforms.

Opposition members and civil society activists have borne the brunt of violence, intimidation, harassment, and repression, which appears aimed at restricting civic and political space in the country.

The past year, in particular, has witnessed the abduction and torture of several activists, as well as the weaponisation of the criminal justice system against the ruling party’s political opponents.

Human Rights Watch has urged SADC to use the Harare summit as an opportunity to address the deteriorating human rights situation in Zimbabwe and press the Mnangagwa government to end its crackdown on dissent and uphold fundamental freedoms.

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Opposition politicians have been held in prolonged pretrial detention or convicted on baseless, seemingly politically motivated charges. Said Allan Ngari, Africa advocacy director at Human Rights Watch:

The government of President Mnangagwa is accelerating its crackdown against legitimate and peaceful activism ahead of the August summit.

The Southern African Development Community needs to engage with the authorities to take clear measures to ensure the enjoyment of basic freedoms by all Zimbabweans.

SADC should promote respect for human rights by calling upon Zimbabwe’s government to end repression and the arbitrary arrests and prosecutions of activists and opposition supporters.

The pervasive climate of intimidation and repression needs to end.

The heads of state of SADC’s 16 members are scheduled to convene for their 44th regional summit on August 17, 2024, in Harare.

At this gathering, Mnangagwa is poised to assume the chairmanship of the sub-regional organisation.

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