Solidarity with Zimbabwe ahead of SADC meeting
Nearly 80 organisations, including a number of Amnesty International's African sections, have come together to show solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe. In a statement to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which is meeting this weekend in South Africa, the organizations voiced their concern about the continuing violations of Zimbabweans' human rights. In the statement, the organisations recognised that attempts are being made by Zimbabwean political parties, SADC, the African Union and the United Nations to address the political and economic situation. However, the organizations, also including HURINET based in Uganda, the Southern Africa Human Rights NGO Network (SAHRiNGON) from Tanzania and the Legal Assistance Centre from Namibia pointed to violations that have persisted since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by political parties on 21 July. They highlighted the continuation of torture and other ill-treatment, and harassment and intimidation, of political and human rights activists. "We are also concerned that important questions of justice and impunity were not explicitly tackled in the MoU, suggesting that these issues will not be dealt with in the talks between the political parties," the statement continues. "We add our voices to the increasing number of civic and political leaders, activists and ordinary citizens in condemning the events in Zimbabwe which have brought untold suffering to its people. The ongoing political violence, suppression of fundamental human rights and the failure of governance which has directly contributed to the impoverishment of the people of Zimbabwe must be addressed now. "The present government has brutally suppressed democratic dissent and persecuted political and human rights activists in callous disregard of the rights enshrined in the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights." The letter calls on African leaders at all levels – pan-African, regional and national – and their institutions to urge the Government of Zimbabwe to immediately end serious human rights violations in the country and publicly denounce and call for the cessation of all political violence.