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  • 2002 Presidential & Harare Municipal elections - Index of articles

  • Zimbabwe: Africa must seize opportunity to protect the rights of all its citizens
    Network Press Release
    Amnesty International SADC

    March 28
    , 2002

    Johannesburg—Hundreds of Amnesty International’s members in Southern Africa today called on African leaders in general and Southern African Development Community (SADC) diplomats in particular to seize every opportunity to protect the rights of citizens in Zimbabwe. Current discussions on Zimbabwe at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights provide the perfect opportunity at the highest of international fora.

    "The adage, If Not Us Who, If Not Now When?’ has never rung more true than at present for the protection of human rights in Zimbabwe" according to the Amnesty International SADC Network, representing the organization’s African members in Botswana, Mauritius, South Africa,, Tanzania, Zambia, Angola, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

    "If African countries do not take the lead in the protection of human rights in Zimbabwe this can only be to the detriment on its citizens. Ordinary Zimbabweans who have borne the brunt of human rights violations since the Matabeleland massacres in the early eighties, through the parliamentary elections in 2000 to the presidential elections in 2002 are now desperately looking towards Africa - not Europe or Scandinavia - for an unequivocal acknowledgement of their suffering," said Samkelo Mokhine press officer for Amnesty International South Africa, and a member or the research delegation that visited Zimbabwe during the recent presidential elections.

    "Support for investigations by the United Nations into human rights violations in Zimbabwe will lay to rest any illusions promoted by the Zimbabwean authorities that the suffering of ordinary Zimbabweans is a figment of their imaginations," Mokhine said.

    At the UN Commission on Human Rights meeting in Geneva, Amnesty International is calling for a resolution concerning the human rights situation in Zimbabwe. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson and human rights experts on the independence of the judiciary and freedom of expression have all also raised their concerns about the intimidation and violations in the run-up to the presidential elections.

    African support for a resolution on Zimbabwe will be vital to ensure that any resolution at the UN Commission on Human Rights will effectively lead to Zimbabwe’s acceptance of the Commissions thematic investigators visiting the country.

    "Africans on the rest of the continent will get a clear indication about what to expect for the protection of their own rights from the protection afforded to citizens of Zimbabwe by the African leadership at the UN" concluded Mokhine speaking on behalf of Amnesty International SADC Network.

    For further information or interviews contact:

    • Samkelo Mokhine of AI South Africa on +27-83-26-126-56 or
    • Cathy Turner in Geneva on + 41 79 3566292

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