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    April 09, 2015

    The Zimbabwean authorities must urgently step up their search efforts for abducted journalist and pro-democracy activist Itai Dzamara and update the public on any progress so far, Amnesty International said today, a month after his enforced disappearance.

    A High Court judge last month ordered Zimbabwean police and state security agents to search for Itai Dzamara, including by advertising on radio and newspapers, and to give fortnightly updates to the Court.

    “It is worrying that a month after Itai Dzamara’s abduction, there seems to be no credible investigation in place. It is also worrying that police and state security agents have not been fully complying with the order to keep the High Court informed,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International's Regional Director for Southern Africa.

    “If someone can just disappear without a trace, it begs the question who is safe in Zimbabwe? Enforced disappearance is a crime under international law that must be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.”

    March 10, 2015

    Amid growing fear for the safety of abducted journalist and pro-democracy activist, Itai Dzamara, Amnesty International is calling on the Zimbabwe government to immediately investigate and ensure his safety.  

    Itai Dzamara, was abducted yesterday, 9 March 2015 by five men while he was at a barbers’ shop in Harare’s Glen View suburb. The abductors are said to have accused him of stealing cattle before handcuffing him, forcing him into a white truck with concealed number plates and driving off. He has not been seen since.

    “The abduction of Itai Dzamara is deeply alarming. The Zimbabwean authorities, especially the police, must urgently institute a search operation and do all within their power to ensure his safe return. There must be a full and thorough investigation into his abduction, with those responsible brought to justice,” said Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International Southern Africa’s Deputy Director for Research.

    January 30, 2015

    Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe should use his position as the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) to address key human rights concerns in different parts of the continent, including his own country, Amnesty International said today.  

    President Robert Mugabe takes over the rotating position from the Mauritanian president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz which will see him in charge for the year ahead.

    “There is an urgent need for the AU to take more concrete steps to effectively address the massive human rights violations resulting from the many conflicts taking place in several parts of the continent. President Mugabe should use his time as Chairperson to restore stability in parts of the region that have been ravaged by conflicts,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa Director for Research and Advocacy.

    January 13, 2015

    A High Court decision barring the forced eviction of families from Arnold Farm in Mazowe is a victory for human rights and justice, Amnesty International said today.

    The provisional order was handed down by the High Court yesterday after armed police indiscriminately and arbitrarily demolished homes and set on fire personal belongings of some 150 families on 7 January 2014. 

    “The High Court of Zimbabwe has reaffirmed that no one can just wake up and decide to evict people from their place of residence without following the law. The Zimbabwean authorities must now stop these forced evictions and abide by the court order,” said Simeon Mawanza, Amnesty International’s researcher for the Southern Africa region. 

    The families were left in the open after their homes were demolished by the police, with no cover from the elements, in the midst of the rainy season.  

    “The government should immediately provide emergency shelter for the victims and ensure adequate compensation for their loss and provide a durable solution,” said Simeon Mawanza. 

    December 03, 2014

    Zimbabwean authorities should immediately begin a thorough and impartial investigation into the abduction and beating of pro-democracy and rights activists on 2 December 2014, and bring suspected perpetrators to justice, Amnesty International said today.

    Three members of the pro-democracy activist group Occupy Africa Unity Square were abducted and severely assaulted by suspected ZANU-PF supporters yesterday in Harare while engaging in a peaceful protest.

    The activists sustained injuries and were later handed to the Zimbabwean police by their abductors. They were subsequently released by police without charge and admitted to hospital where they are currently receiving treatment.

    “It is worrying that people exercising their constitutionally and internationally guaranteed freedom of assembly can be so brutally attacked in broad day light by known people and police let the perpetrators escape justice. Such conduct by police is deplorable and needs to come to an end,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty international's Regional Director for Southern Africa.

    October 02, 2014

    The Zimbabwean authorities have bulldozed the homes of hundreds of the country’s poorest residents in a series of forced evictions in what amounts to a clear breach of its own Constitution, as well as its international and regional human rights obligations, said Amnesty International today.

    The organisation has been monitoring events over the last week as the police and bulldozers have moved in to clear so-called “illegal settlements” in the towns of Epworth and Chitungwiza near the country’s capital, Harare.

    “These evictions will leave thousands of people in an extremely dire situation, particularly with the rainy season approaching fast,” said Simeon Mawanza, Southern Africa regional specialist at Amnesty International.

    “Instead of forcing people out of their houses and condemning them to homelessness, authorities must respect the law and people’s rights by finding alternative solutions. Everybody has the right to adequate housing and to be protected against forced eviction regardless of where they live.”

    August 14, 2014

    The Southern African Development Community (SADC) should address human rights violations among its member states as part of measures to improve the lives of its people, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today.

    As the 15 member states of SADC prepare to meet for the 34th Summit of Heads of State and Government in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe on August 17 and 18, 2014, the three human rights organizations drew attention to serious human rights concerns in Angola, Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe will take over as chair of the regional body at the meeting.

    “SADC’s commitment to human rights will come into question if Zimbabwe, as chair of the regional body, does not expedite the process of aligning its laws with the constitution and state institutions do not live up to the regional and international best practices,” said Dzimbabwe Chimbga, Projects Manager, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

    May 30, 2014

    The protracted detention of two Zambian men accused of having sex is an affront to all who believe in fundamental human rights, equality and non-discrimination and they should be released immediately, said Amnesty International today.

    The Magistrate court in Kapiri Mposhi was due to deliver its verdict today on the case of James Mwape and Philip Mubiana, who have been held for over a year after being charged with having sex “against the order of nature”. But owing to delays by the state prosecutor, the case had been postponed to an unknown date. 

    “These men have already spent over a year in prison having been denied bail in a case where they are accused of something that should not be a crime. Locking up people on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation is reprehensible and a clear breach of international law and justice” said Simeon Mawanza, Amnesty International’s Zambia researcher.

    May 22, 2014

    Legislation restricting internationally recognized human rights is still in place in Zimbabwe, one year after the new Constitution was signed into law promising improved civil liberties for all, Amnesty International said today.

    “A year ago the people of Zimbabwe were celebrating a new Constitution which promised a much improved Declaration of Rights. Unfortunately, the government has since failed to amend or repeal all the laws rendered unconstitutional and continues to use these laws to repress people exercising their rights in Zimbabwe,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director of Southern Africa.

    Public order, security and criminal laws are being used to deny people their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, despite guarantees under the new Constitution.

    Amnesty International has documented numerous cases over the last year where meetings or activities have been barred and human rights defenders have been arrested and charged.

    In April alone nearly a dozen demonstrators and community activists were arrested for organizing and taking part in peaceful protests in Masvingo.

    November 25, 2013

    The Government of Zimbabwe must guarantee all human rights enshrined in the new Constitution, Amnesty International said in a Human Rights Agenda issued as President Robert Mugabe approaches the 100th day of his new term.

    In the report, Human Rights Agenda for the New Government – 2013 to 2018, the organization urges the Zimbabwean government to take significant steps to improve the country’s poor human rights record. It also must address impunity for past violations and provide remedies to victims.

    “There is no doubt that the new government will be judged on the basis of its human rights record and ability to improve the living conditions for everyone in the country,” says Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.

    “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.”

    November 22, 2013

    Today’s acquittal of a key Zimbabwean human rights defender is encouraging, but the fact that it comes after three years of harassment is further confirmation that the police continue to abuse the law to hamper the work of human rights defenders, Amnesty International said.

    Abel Chikomo, Director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, was brought to court in 2011 on charges of running an ‘illegal’ organization after it conducted a survey on transitional justice in Harare’s Highfield suburb. The judge today found he “had no case to answer”.

    “Today’s ruling confirms what Amnesty International has said all along – the Zimbabwean authorities never had a legal leg to stand on when they brought Abel Chikomo to court,” said Aster van Kregten, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Africa.

    “Bringing unfounded criminal charges against human rights defenders is one of the tools which have been consistently used to harass and intimidate Zimbabwe’s civil society.

    September 19, 2013

    Today’s acquittal of 21 human rights and opposition activists by Zimbabwe’s High Court leaves the authorities with serious questions to answer about police misconduct in the aftermath of a police officer’s murder, Amnesty International said.

    "This acquittal of the 21 activists is a positive development – Amnesty International has always believed that most, if not all, of the accused had been arrested as a result of a politicized investigation into the death of the police officer,” said Noel Kututwa, southern Africa director at Amnesty International.

    "This tragic loss of a police officer’s life could have been professionally investigated without the human rights violations that have now tainted it. Police investigations must be competent, thorough, prompt, and impartial.”

    Seven activists from Morgan Tsvangirai’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) remain on trial over the murder of police officer Petros Mutedza in the Harare suburb of Glen View in 2011.

    August 12, 2013

    By Stephanie McBride, Zimbabwe coordinator, Amnesty International Canada (English)

    On the morning of July 31st, I woke up to messages of hope and optimism spread across my Facebook feed, my morning news, and my inbox. Many of my friends in Zimbabwe had posted statuses and updates about the elections that day, which would determine the composition of the House of Commons and the Senate as well as the future President of Zimbabwe.

    Very few incidents of violence were reported during or immediately after the elections. The chief of the African Union monitoring mission, Olusegun Obasanjo, stated that although “there are incidences that could have been avoided…we do not believe that these incidents will amount to the results not reflecting the will of the people.” Shortly before the announcement of a landslide victory for Robert Mugabe, who is reported to have captured 61% of the vote, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) announced that the election was a “huge farce.” He has since mounted a legal challenge of the election results and is now discussing a boycott of all government institutions.

    August 06, 2013

    Women political activists in rural Zimbabwe told Amnesty International they have been threatened with violence and forced to flee with their children for refusing to reveal their vote to supporters of Robert Mugabe's party during harmonized elections.

    The women said they resisted instructions from Zanu-PF supporters to feign illiteracy, blindness or physical injury, which would have meant someone else marking the ballot on their behalf,

    At least six women said they left home with their 12 young children after facing intimidation from village heads in Mukumbura district, Mashonaland Central Province soon after the 31 July poll.

    "It appears the ZANU-PF supporters wanted to ensure that these women did not vote for the other parties and tried to compromise the secrecy of the ballot," said Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Africa.

    "The Zimbabwean police must guarantee the safety of political activists in rural areas following these reports of politically motivated displacement. The authorities have a duty to investigate any threats of violence and ensure those responsible are brought to justice."

    July 12, 2013

    Zimbabwean police are continuing to target and intimidate human rights defenders ahead of elections later this month according to a new report by Amnesty International.

    Walk the Talk details how the police have conducted systematic raids on offices, arbitrarily arrested human rights defenders and seized equipment to intimidate and disrupt the work of organizations carrying out election related human rights work
    “The clampdown on the work of human rights defenders is a worrying indicator that government agencies remain actively hostile to civil society,” said Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International’s Africa Deputy Programme Director.

    “Zimbabwe’s security forces must respect and protect fundamental freedoms as the country prepares for a high stakes election at the end of July.”

    At the end of 2012, amid speculation that Zimbabwe would hold elections as early as March 2013, Amnesty International documented increased targeting of human rights defenders and civil society organisations.


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