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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
A human rights agenda for President Mugabe
incoming government should take concrete steps to fulfill the country’s
human rights obligations, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter
to President Robert Mugabe. Mugabe, who was sworn
in on August 22, 2013, following a
disputed election in which his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic
Front (Zanu-PF) party garnered more than two-thirds of the vote,
is expected to announce his new administration this week.
Human Rights Watch identified
key human rights priorities in its letter. They include the need
to reaffirm the rights provisions in the new constitution, ensure
justice and accountability for past abuses, uphold activists’
rights to organize and operate freely without government harassment,
and strengthen the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.
should publicly express his personal commitment to meeting Zimbabwe’s
human rights obligations,” said Tiseke Kasambala, Southern
Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “He should take responsibility
for ensuring that rights are protected and that his officials uphold
the law. The new administration needs to embrace a new, positive
rights-respecting approach to governing.”
Human Rights Watch urged
Mugabe and his administration to take the following steps:
rights provisions in new constitution
rights provisions in the new constitution,
immediately amend or repeal laws as necessary to bring them in line
with the new constitution, and ensure that government officials
respect and protect these rights.
Ensure accountability for past human rights abuses
cases of serious abuses, including during
the 2008 elections, and prosecute those responsible in accordance
with international standards. Those prosecuted should include members
of the security forces implicated in killings, arbitrary detention,
and torture and other ill-treatment. Provide appropriate redress
to victims of government abuses.
Uphold rights of interested Zimbabweans and Human Rights Defenders
to organize and work in civic affairs
Send a clear public message
to Zimbabwe’s people that the new administration will honor
its human rights obligations and not interfere with the rights of
nongovernmental organizations to freely operate across the country
and without fear of harassment, intimidation or arbitrary arrest.
Protect media freedom
Carry out policies
that encourage, not weaken, freedom of the press. Ensure that the
rights to freedom of association and assembly are fully realized,
and promote free expression and communication. Amend or repeal repressive
laws such as the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Public
Order and Security Act, and the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
Strengthen the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission
Take immediate steps
to ensure that the legislation establishing the Zimbabwe Human Rights
Commission complies fully with international standards. Ensure that
the commission has adequate resources and has competent, independent
and non-partisan secretariat staff. Expand the commission’s
mandate to allow it to investigate human rights abuses in 2008.
The government of Zimbabwe has important legal obligations under
African and international human rights treaties that require it
to respect the rights to life, bodily integrity, and liberty and
security of the person, as well as freedoms of expression, association,
and assembly, Human Rights Watch said.
should seize this opportunity to set Zimbabwe on a path that respects
human rights and the democratic process,” Kasambala said.
“Placing human rights at the top of the agenda would send
a clear message that Zimbabwe is committed to honoring its human
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