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Zimbabwe human rights report
Human Rights NGO Forum & Open Society Initiative for Southern
December 10, 2010
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is a collaborative effort between the Open Society Initiative for
Southern Africa (OSISA) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
(The Forum) to have a competent, national and collective human rights
appraisal of Zimbabwe that can be an addition and alternative to
external Zimbabwe human rights assessments.
The idea of
producing a locally generated human rights situation assessment
and consolidated report was born out of a realization that the work
of national and grassroots organizations that compile first-hand
information is often subordinated to international assessments,
which depend on secondary data sources, usually official, that can
be subject to manipulation and unavailability.
This will be
the first Zimbabwe Human Rights Report compiled by and through the
efforts of local human rights organizations. The report covers the
human rights situation in Zimbabwe in 2009. Information contained
herein was collected from the findings of local human rights organizations
and desktop reviews of source documents. Data collection and validation
was done with the participation of twenty-six collaborating human
rights organizations. Efforts were made to validate and authenticate
the independent findings of these organizations, and to compile
valid cumulative totals of statistics provided and narrative assessments.
The main findings
of the report are as follows:
- The year
2009 saw a marked improvement in, but not the cessation of, human
rights violations compared to 2008 as a result of the formation
of the inclusive government (also called a Government of National
- A culture
of impunity persisted, and perpetrators of rights violations were
not made to account for their transgressions.
- The monitoring
of rights violations was enabled by the opening up of political
- Not all human
rights NGOs in Zimbabwe contributed to the production of this
report. It is hoped that in future more organizations will make
contributions deriving from their organizational mandates for
the production of regular annual reports.
The year 2009
was an important milestone in the historical development of Zimbabwe.
It saw for the first time in the country's history ZANU (PF)'s
monopoly on power being broken with the formation of an inclusive
government and the swearing in of 'opposition' ministers
in February 2009. This development fundamentally altered the political
landscape in Zimbabwe with the infusion of the 'democrats'
into government; alternatively, and perhaps more significantly,
it also extinguished an opposition's discerning voice, as
they all began to speak as one government.
as will be more evident in this report, managed to arrest the rapid
decline of the economic socio-political environment that had characterized
the country in the last decade. This union, however, was an imperfect
one, with numerous 'outstanding issues' hindering the
full implementation of the Interparty Political Agreement (more
commonly known as the Global
Political Agreement, GPA) that had created the inclusive government.
The political bickering eventually led to the temporary withdrawal
of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) faction headed by Morgan
Tsvangirai (MDC-T) from the government on 16 October 2009, only
to re-engage later following intervention by SADC in November.
bickering and gesturing by the political parties only marginally
affected Zimbabwe's economic turnaround that had been encouraged
by the GPA and the decision to adopt a multicurrency regime. Commerce
and industry seemed to be on the mend, and basic commodities started
to re-appear in most retail outlets. This revival cascaded to the
provision of social amenities that had ceased at the height of the
crisis: schools and hospitals began to reopen across the country,
though these were available only to those that could afford the
As these developments
took place in a specific political context, and in order to fully
comprehend the content of this, the inaugural report, it is essential
to look at the crisis in retrospect and analyse 2009 with that history
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