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Zimbabwe : Deteriorating human rights as the continent marks Africa Day

A letter from The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

28th May 2011 08:19

Alessia Valenza

Dear Friends,

Today, 25.5.11, marks Africa Day across the continent. This day commemorates
the 48th anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity
(OAU) established on May 25 th 1963 and becoming the African Union (AU) in
2002. The theme for this year’s commemorations focuses on ‘Accelerating
Youth Empowerment’. The following statements from our member organisations
and civil society organisations inside Zimbabwe include the following:

– Our member organisation, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association
(ZimRights), issued the attached Newsflash of 24.5.11 which, whilst
celebrating the unique African culture and identity, observes that today is
a sad reminder of the deteriorating human rights situation in some African
countries, including Zimbabwe.

– Another of our member organisations, the Media Institute for Southern
Africa (MISA Zimbabwe) issued the following statement joining the rest of
Africa in welcoming the day and emphasising that it should be an opportunity
for Zimbabwe to reflect on progress (or lack thereof) towards fulfilling the
obligations enshrined in the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.
Read further via:


– The attached statement by the Youth Forum welcomes the theme of youth
empowerment and observes how refreshing it is ‘that someone has finally
realised that not only are African youths dis empowered but that the
rate of empowering them is dismal and therefore needs to be
accelerated’. It notes that the AU’s African Youth Charter of 2006
recognises the youth as Africa’s greatest resource and calls on the AU
to do more to involve African youths.

– The Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) issued the attached
Media Release of 24.5.11 which observes that despite the dream of
African independence and sovereignty, the enemies of Africa are now more
within its boundaries than outside. ZINASU calls for the promotion of
better education in Zimbabwe and in the African continent.

With regard to the on-going human rights situation in Zimbabwe, the
following reports/statements from our member organisations inside the
country refer:

A Press Statement issued by Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) reports that
3 WOZA activists appeared in court and were granted bail whilst in a
separate incident 150 activists carried out a protest about electricity
supplies in Bulawayo and six women including a 3 month old baby were
arrested. The statement can be read on line via: <>

Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) issued two Newsflash items
recently, these were:


The attached Newsflash of 24.5.11 reports on worrying news about
the detention of Florence Ndlovu and Walter Dube, two ZimRights
employees who were conducting a workshop on torture awareness in
Tsholotsho which was disrupted by the police.


The attached Newsflash of 23.5.11expresses concern at the needless
arrest and intimidation of a Zimbabwean civil society delegation
during the just ended SADC Extra-Ordinary Summit in Windhoek, Namibia.

Other recent reports/statements on Zimbabwe issued by civil society
organisations and international bodies include the following:

Further to the news from ZimRights about the arrest and detention of two
of its employees, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights
Defenders issued an Urgent Appeal yesterday, 24.5.11 regarding the
arbitrary arrest by the police in Tsholotsho of. This can be found via:


The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition issued the attached Daily Catalyst of
24.5.11 which reports on the continued crackdown by police on the
activities of civil society organisations.

Today, 25.5.11, the Regional Offices of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
released Issue 27 of

the ‘Zimbabwe Briefing’ which traces President Mugabe’s disdain for
sound electoral procedures through an archive Herald article by then
rebel but now ZANU PF Spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo.

This issue also looks at the recent SADC Summit in Namibia noting
continued attempts by ZANU PF to divide SADC and have the Troika
resolutions on Zimbabwe rejected by the full Summit. It further notes
recent ZANU PF attacks on the SADC Facilitation team and in particular,
on the person and integrity of Ambassador Lindiwe Zulu. Unfortunately,
this item is too large to attach here, however we would be pleased to
send it to you upon request at the above address.

Veritas issued a Bill Watch 20 2011 of 23.5.11 contains a parliamentary
update and an update about the deliberations of the recent SADC
Extra-Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government in Windhoek,
Namibia, including on their deliberations about the SADC Tribunal. This
can be read on line via the following link:

International Liaison Office
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
56-64 Leonard Street
London EC2A 4LT
Tel. +44-(0)20-7065 0945