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    September 06, 2019

    Robert Mugabe, who led Zimbabwe for almost four decades, has died aged 95, leaving behind an indelible stain on his country’s human rights record, said Amnesty International.

    His early years as leader of Zimbabwe, following the transition from British colonial rule, saw some notable achievements through his heavy investment in social services. Areas including health and education saw dramatic improvements, with the country still enjoying one of the highest literacy rates in Africa. However, he later eroded his own track record.

    During his 37 years in power, he presided over the brutal repression of political opponents and established a culture of impunity for himself and his cronies, while his government implemented a series of policies that have had disastrous consequences.

    “While casting himself as the saviour of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe inflicted lasting damage upon its people and its reputation,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa.

    August 26, 2019

    During his first year as President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa has presided over a systematic and brutal crackdown on human rights, including the violent suppression of protests and a witch-hunt against anyone who dared challenge his government, Amnesty International said today.

    The socio-economic conditions of many Zimbabweans have also declined over the past 12 months. The weak economy has seen fuel prices skyrocket and high inflation push the prices of basic commodities such as bread through the roof as well as eroding people’s salaries.

    “What we have witnessed in Zimbabwe since President Emmerson Mnangagwa took power is a ruthless attack on human rights, with the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association increasingly restricted and criminalized,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.

    August 16, 2019

    In response to the brutal assault on peaceful protesters who gathered in the Harare CBD earlier today in anticipation of the “16 August” national protests, Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa, said:

    “The scenes in Harare today demonstrate just how far the authorities will go to repress dissent. Baton-wielding police unleashed a brutal assault on protesters, who had gathered to protest the socio-economic conditions which are causing suffering to so many in Zimbabwe.

    “The Zimbabwean authorities should know that the world is watching. The authorities must end the escalating crackdown on dissent and respect, protect, and fulfil the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. There must be full accountability for these attacks, which left scores of people injured and shows the government’s contempt for human rights.

    August 01, 2019

    One year on, the soldiers who opened fire on protesters in the aftermath of the general elections, killing at least six of them and causing injuries to scores more, have still not been held accountable for their actions, Amnesty International said today.

    The army, which was illegally deployed, used live ammunition to disperse protests in the capital Harare, after delays in the release of the presidential election results by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

    “The tragedy of the post-election shootings is compounded by the fact that no one in the army suspected to be responsible for the bloodshed has been held to account for these brutal killings. This is despite the fact that the alleged perpetrators have been identified through the media and social media videos and pictures,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.

    “If the Zimbabwean government wants to demonstrate that it is committed to human rights, it needs to ensure that the wheels of justice start turning faster than they have done over the past year.”

    May 27, 2019

    Zimbabwean authorities have this afternoon arrested two more human rights defenders at the Harare airport in a mounting onslaught on the rights to freedom of expression and association, Amnesty International said today.

    The two, Stabile Dewah (35) and Rita Nyamupinga (61), bring to seven the number of human rights defenders arrested at Robert Mugabe International Airport in the past seven days as they returned from a capacity-building workshop on non-violent protest tactics in the Maldives.

    “The first five human rights defenders arrested are facing trumped up charges for exercising their human rights. They should be released immediately and unconditionally. The charges against them fit into a much wider pattern of repression we have documented in Zimbabwe,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.

    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.

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