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    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.

    November 21, 2017

     

    Responding to the news that Robert Mugabe has resigned as President of Zimbabwe, Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International said:

    “After more than three decades of violent repression, the way forward for the country is to renounce the abuses of the past and transition into a new era where the rule of law is respected and those who are responsible for injustices are held to account.

    “During 37 years of President Mugabe’s leadership, tens of thousands of people were tortured, forcibly disappeared or killed. President Mugabe condoned human rights violations, defended criminal actions of his officials and allowed a culture of impunity for grotesque crimes to thrive.

    “Although Zimbabwe invested heavily in social services in the early years of independence, much of this progress was wiped out by later events such as the Operation Murambatsvina forced evictions campaign of 2005, which destroyed the homes or livelihoods of 700,000 people.

    November 15, 2017

    In response to the military takeover and subsequent control of certain streets of the capital city Harare and the state-run broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa Deprose Muchena said:

     

    “At this tense time, it is essential that the military ensure the safety and security of all people in Zimbabwe – regardless of their political allegiance - and refrain from any action that puts lives and human rights at risk.

    “Military officials must uphold human rights, including the right to liberty, freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. The free flow of information – through the media and social media - must be guaranteed.

    “The military takeover should not be used as an excuse to undermine Zimbabwe’s international and regional human rights obligations and commitments.”

    Background

    The Zimbabwe Defence Forces spokesperson Sibusiso Moyo announced the military takeover. He said that said they were targeting people around President Robert Mugabe who had caused “social and economic suffering” to bring them to justice.

     

    October 03, 2017

    In response to the arrest of Newsday journalist Kenneth Nyangani for reporting that first lady Grace Mugabe and officials from the ruling ZANU-PF party donated used clothes, including night dresses and underwear, to the party’s supporters in Mutare, Cousin Zilala, Executive Director of Amnesty International Zimbabwe said:

    “The arrest of Kenneth Nyangani is a deliberate tactic to harass and intimidate him and other journalists in order to deter them from doing their work. The intention is to send a chilling message to journalists and media workers that they must self-censor rather than expose truths.

    “Zimbabwean journalists should not be criminalized simply for doing their work. Kenneth Nyangani must be released immediately and unconditionally and all charges against him dropped.”

     

    For more information please contact: Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations 613-744-7667 ext 236 or jkuehn@amnesty.ca

    February 08, 2017

    The Zimbabwean authorities must drop all politically motivated charges against human rights activist Pastor Evan Mawarire and stop using the criminal justice system to harass and intimidate him for his activism, Amnesty International and Civicus said today after the Harare High Court granted him bail and ordered his release on 9 February.

    Upon his return to Zimbabwe last week, he was arrested and charged with subversion and “insulting the national Flag of Zimbabwe” in connection with protests he led in 2016 over corruption and economic decline.

    “Pastor Evan Mawarire is being subjected to political persecution through the courts for exercising his freedom of expression. His continued persecution has a chilling effect on peaceful activism in Zimbabwe,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.

    “The release of Pastor Evan Mawarire on bail is not enough, the politically motivated charges against him must be completely withdrawn. The state cannot continue to harass and intimidate him simply for standing up for human rights.”

    September 07, 2016

    The government of Zimbabwe must respect a court ruling overturning the ban on protests in the country, Amnesty International said today, as the High Court issued its verdict allowing public demonstrations.

    “Today’s High court decision is a victory for Zimbabwe’s constitutional principles. It sends a clear message to the authorities that the right to protest, as enshrined in the country’s constitution, cannot just be stripped away by the state on a whim,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for Southern Africa.

    “Zimbabwe’s authorities must respect and obey today’s ruling and allow people to assemble and raise their grievances, as long as they are doing it within the confines of the laws that govern public protests.”

    Today’s ruling comes after President Robert Mugabe publicly threatened the country’s judges on 3 September accusing them of being reckless by allowing demonstrations in the country.

    Background

    April 19, 2016

    The brutal assault by Zimbabwe's state security agents on the brother of the abducted pro-democracy activist Itai Dzamara must be urgently and impartially investigated and those responsible brought to justice, Amnesty International said today.

    State security agents punched and beat Patson Dzamara with batons and later forced him to drink about four litres of water after he staged a peaceful demonstration at Independence Day celebrations attended by President Robert Mugabe on 18 April at Harare's National Sports Stadium.

    Patson Dzamara held up a placard reading “Independent but not free – where is my brother Itai” near a VIP tent when up to 10 security agents set upon him.

    “The brutal attack on Patson Dzamara for simply lifting a placard is yet further evidence that the Zimbabwean government is prepared to lash out at anyone highlighting its appalling human rights record,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for Southern Africa.

    March 09, 2016

    The absolute failure of the police to account for the enforced disappearance of Itai Dzamara, a pro-democracy activist and critic of President Mugabe’s government, highlights the culture of impunity for human rights violations in Zimbabwe, said Amnesty International on the anniversary of his abduction.

    “It has been a year since Itai Dzamara was disappeared without a trace, leaving his family in agonizing uncertainty about his fate and whereabouts. This appears to be a well-orchestrated plot to silence a well-known government critic, and is a deeply troubling indictment of the state of freedom of expression in Zimbabwe,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for Southern Africa.

    “The authorities must initiate a genuine search for Itai Dzamara’s safe return while establishing a full and impartial judge led commission of inquiry into the circumstances of his disappearance.” 

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