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  • Zimbabwe: Put human rights at the top of the political agenda - A five point human rights agenda for the inclusive government
    Amnesty International
    AI Index: AFR 46/009/2009
    February 10, 2009

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    As the political parties in Zimbabwe set up an inclusive government, Amnesty International is calling on the new government to place human rights at the top of its agenda.

    The inauguration of an inclusive government is an important opportunity for the Zimbabwe African National Union -- Patriotic Front and the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change to demonstrate to the Zimbabwean people and rest of the world that they are committed to a future where human rights are truly and fully respected, protected, promoted and fulfilled.

    Since 2000, the human rights situation in Zimbabwe has deteriorated sharply. Amnesty International is concerned about the role played by the security forces in silencing perceived political opponents including human rights defenders and political activists from opposition parties. In addition, the rights to freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression have been curtailed with almost total impunity.

    Amnesty International remains concerned about the plight of hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans whose homes and businesses were destroyed during Operation Murambatsvina in 2005.

    Amnesty International is also concerned about the deteriorating economic and social conditions in Zimbabwe. In particular, the organisation is concerned about the increased food insecurity, collapse of public health, and failing education system.

    The first 100 days of the new administration offers the chance for President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai to take concrete steps to demonstrate the commitment of the new government to internationally recognized human rights, including those guaranteed under the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The new government should ensure full compliance with Zimbabwe's international and regional human rights obligations and commitments, as explicitly set out in the treaties it has ratified.

    Amnesty International is calling on the government to implement a clear agenda for human rights which includes the following five points:

    1. The new government should immediately and unconditionally release Prisoners of Conscience Jestina Mukoko, Broderick Takawira, and Pascal Gonzo. It should also either promptly charge all known and unknown political detainees with recognizable crimes, and ensure prompt and fair trial for them, or release them immediately.

    2. The new government should commit itself to opening up the operational environment for all NGOs and human rights groups, political parties and independent media.

    3. The new government should publicly acknowledge all human rights violations by the previous government, commit to establishing the truth, and take effective measures to guarantee non-repetition.

    4. The new government should immediately end partisan policing and combat impunity for human rights violations by the security forces.

    5. The new government should prioritise the full realisation of all economic, social and cultural rights including rights to food, health, education and housing. Where it is unable to meet its minimum core obligations, it should seek international assistance.

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