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    April 04, 2019

    A police raid on the offices of online news site 263 Chat after one of its journalists filmed the removal of street vendors in Harare is a blatant assault on the right to freedom of expression and media freedom, Amnesty International said today.

    Police fired tear gas into the newsroom after chasing reporter Lovejoy Mtongwiza to the website's offices. The journalist had been taking photos and videos of the police forcing out street vendors in the Zimbabwean capital.

    "Today’s attack on the 263 Chat offices was designed to send a chilling message to journalists and shows the lengths the Zimbabwean police are prepared to go to muzzle media freedom," said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa.

    “The authorities must end the attack on the media and launch a prompt, thorough and effective investigation into this attack and ensure that all suspected perpetrators are identified and brought to justice.”

    263 Chat is an online news site which reports on political, economic and social issues in Zimbabwe.

    March 19, 2019

    With hundreds of people confirmed dead and thousands others missing or displaced after a devastating cyclone hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe and parts of Malawi, Amnesty International is calling on foreign governments, including regional leaders, to ramp up efforts and resources available for rescue efforts.

    The organization said the focus should be on saving people who are still trapped in the affected areas and ensuring that humanitarian assistance is provided to so that people’s basic needs are met and their human rights are protected.

    With the cyclone expected to move further west, the authorities should also aim to mitigate further loss of life by devising early-warning mechanisms and other risk-reduction strategies.

    “The Southern African Development Community and the international community must provide the necessary resources to aid rescue efforts in the countries hit by Cyclone Idai in order to save lives and provide relief for those who have lost their homes and livelihoods,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa.

    February 19, 2019

    In response to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s statement that the government will deal with those suspected to be behind the national ‘stay-away’ protests, including non-governmental organizations, trade union leaders, opposition leaders, doctors and lawyers, Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa said:

    “President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s unfortunate comments are deeply troubling and unwarranted. Coming off the heels of Amnesty International’s expose of a systematic targeting of dissent during the national ‘stay-away’ period, they affirm that his government used security forces, including military personnel, to brutalize people who were protesting. This latest threat is a sinister hint that the situation could become even worse.

    “If his government wants to build an inclusive country that is based on respect for human rights, President Mnangagwa should accommodate differing views, whether they please his government or not.”

    Background

    February 07, 2019

    A new briefing by Amnesty International documents how the Zimbabwean authorities have mounted a brutal crackdown and violence against protesters, using killings and torture, among other serious human rights violations to crush protests against fuel prices which began on 14 January.

    Amnesty International interviewed relatives of some of the 15 people who have been killed by security forces since the start of protests, and detailed how authorities have used lethal and excessive force such as tear gas, baton sticks, water cannons and live ammunition to silence dissent.

    “The Zimbabwean authorities have resorted to the most brutal tactics imaginable to crush demonstrations against fuel hikes. Killings, reports of rape by military personnel and widespread arbitrary arrests of many protestors and non-protestors, have cast doubts on hopes that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government might mean a better future for Zimbabweans where respect for human rights is the norm,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa.

    January 25, 2019

    The Zimbabwean authorities must act swiftly to ensure security forces are held to account for ongoing brutal human rights violations, including torture, rape, beatings and killings of civilians, Amnesty International said today as the crackdown continues against last week’s ‘stay-away’.

    Dozens of civil society leaders, activists, opposition leaders and suspected organizers of the national protests against a massive increase in fuel prices have gone into hiding, fearing for their lives.

    At least 12 people have been killed and dozens more injured by the security forces since protests began on 14 January. Up to 700 people, including minors, have been detained after being arrested on trumped-up charges, or brought before courts in hearings that do not meet fair trial standards. Hundreds have been denied bail.

    January 15, 2019
    Eight people reportedly killed Authorities shut down internet 200 people arbitrarily detained

    The Zimbabwean authorities must ensure that the security forces exercise restraint and respect the rights of people protesting against massive fuel price hikes, Amnesty International said on the second day of the national ‘shutdown’.

    As a result of the crackdown at least eight people have reportedly been killed by the security forces and 200 arbitrarily detained.

    Reports of security forces using firearms and teargas against people protesting at the 150 per cent increase in fuel prices have surfaced in Harare and Bulawayo’s townships. In Epworth, one woman was badly injured after she was shot near a police station on her way to work, according to media reports. Another boy was shot in the stomach in Mbare.

    October 18, 2018

    Responding to the Constitutional Court’s decision to overturn Section 27 of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), which prohibits demonstrations without prior authorization from the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Executive Director of Amnesty International Zimbabwe, Jessica Pwiti said:

    “This landmark decision by the Supreme Court is a welcome step which we hope opens a new chapter for human rights in the country. For far too long, this repressive piece of legislation has been used to systematically harass, arbitrarily detain and torture people seen as opposition supporters or those trying to expose human rights violations. The fact it is no longer on the statute books is cause for celebration.

    “But it’s now the responsibility of the authorities to ensure that the court’s decision is immediately implemented. This means facilitating an environment in which the right to peaceful assembly is ensured without undue restrictions - as guaranteed by both national and international law. Police must also ensure that they respect the law.”

    Background

    September 19, 2018

    The Zimbabwean authorities must bolster the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry into the country’s post-election killings if victims’ families have any hope of obtaining truth, justice and reparations, Amnesty International said today after the swearing in of the commissioners.

    The organization is also concerned about the independence and impartiality of the Commission, which includes a presidential candidate in the 30 July elections, who has criticized opposition parties challenging the results of the vote, and an academic, who has publicly expressed her support for the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). Commissioners with strong ties or support of ZANU-PF may compromise the independence and impartiality of the investigation and expose it to external interference. 

    September 13, 2018

    The Zimbabwean authorities must urgently take measures to stop and address the cholera epidemic that has so far claimed 20 lives, Amnesty International said after the government today declared the outbreak a national disaster. 

    Initial cases of cholera were reported in Gweru and Harare last month and the capital is now the worst affected area, with more than 15 people confirmed to have died of the infectious disease. The country’s 2008 cholera outbreak, which claimed the lives of more than 4,300 people, was the largest ever recorded in Zimbabwe. Unless urgent action is taken the death toll of this current epidemic is also likely to be significant.

    “The current cholera epidemic is a terrible consequence of Zimbabwe’s failure to invest in and manage both its basic water and sanitation infrastructure and its health care system. It is appalling that in 2018, people are still dying of such a preventable disease,” said Jessica Pwiti, Executive Director of Amnesty International Zimbabwe.

    September 12, 2018

    The Zimbabwean authorities must urgently take measures to stop and address the cholera epidemic that has so far claimed 20 lives, Amnesty International said after the government today declared the outbreak a national disaster. 

    Initial cases of cholera were reported in Gweru and Harare last month and the capital is now the worst affected area, with more than 15 people confirmed to have died of the infectious disease. The country’s 2008 cholera outbreak, which claimed the lives of more than 4,300 people, was the largest ever recorded in Zimbabwe. Unless urgent action is taken the death toll of this current epidemic is also likely to be significant.

    “The current cholera epidemic is a terrible consequence of Zimbabwe’s failure to invest in and manage both its basic water and sanitation infrastructure and its health care system. It is appalling that in 2018, people are still dying of such a preventable disease,” said Jessica Pwiti, Executive Director of Amnesty International Zimbabwe.

    August 01, 2018

    Authorities must launch a prompt and effective investigation into the army’s killing of three protesters and injury of scores others following post elections violence, Amnesty International said today.

    “It is unfortunate that this election has descended into bloodshed, which could have been avoided if security forces had exercised restraint against protesters. The army’s conduct should be promptly investigated, with those responsible brought to justice,” said Colm Ó Cuanacháin, Amnesty International’s Acting Secretary General.

    “By using live ammunition against unarmed protesters, the army has broken the very same rule of law that they should protect. The militarization of the prevailing post-election environment is muzzling freedom of expression, association and assembly. People must be guaranteed their right to protest.”

    Police have confirmed that three people have been killed after soldiers fired live ammunition on fleeing people following post-election protests in Harare, with some of the injured and dead being shot from the back.

    March 22, 2018
    In response to the decision by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to commute the death sentences of prisoners who have been on death row for more than 10 years, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa, Muleya Mwananyanda, said: “President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s has taken a very progressive step in deciding to spare the prisoners from the hangman’s noose. His action is commendable, but he must build on this positive momentum by ensuring Zimbabwe abolishing the death penalty completely.   “Countries around the world, including in sub-Saharan Africa, are moving away from using the death penalty. There is no credible evidence that the death penalty has a greater deterrent effect on crime than imprisonment. We call on President Mnangagwa to move swiftly to establish an official moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolishing this cruel and inhuman punishment altogether.”   Background
    February 23, 2018

    In response to allegations that Zimbabwean police shot and killed two people during clashes that were sparked by a government ban on minibus drivers entering Harare’s financial district, Amnesty International’s Zimbabwe Director, Cousin Zilala, said:

    “The Zimbabwean government must immediately instruct the police to show restraint and refrain from using excessive force, in particular against unarmed protesters. The authorities must promptly order an independent and impartial investigation into the killings, and prosecute any police officers proven responsible for unlawful actions or human rights violations.

    “Zimbabweans have a right to go about their daily lives without the threat of unnecessary or excessive force from the police, who have a duty to act with caution in all confrontational situations, in order to protect lives.

    “Under international law and standards, law enforcement officials must only resort to the use of force where unavoidable, in a manner that is proportionate to the seriousness of the situation. Firearms may only be used in self-defence or the defence of others from imminent threat or serious injury.”

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    November 29, 2017

    In response to the dropping of subversion charges against Zimbabwean Pastor and activist, Evan Mawarire, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, Deprose Muchena, said:

    “The dismissal of this case affirms Amnesty’s long-held position that Pastor Mawarire was an innocent victim of Mugabe’s ruthless campaign to criminalize dissent.

    “Hopefully the ruling signals a new beginning for the country, where the political repression which characterized Mugabe’s rule will no longer be tolerated.

    “The task for President Mnangagwa now is to ensure that a culture exists in Zimbabwe in which voices from outside his government are free to air their opinions on an equal platform, without fear of facing criminal charges.”

    Background

    Pastor Evan Mawarire was arrested and charged with subversion and “insulting the national flag of Zimbabwe” on 31 January 2017. He was later released on USD 300 bail.

    Founder of the #Thisflag movement, he led several anti-government protests in 2016 against corruption, human rights violations and the declining economy in the country.

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