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NGO Bill - Index of Opinion and Analysis
arrested for protesting against rights curbs
October 05, 2004
photographs of their arrest
About 30 women who were arrested
last week for taking part in a protest march in Zimbabwe were detained
again on Tuesday when they presented a petition to Parliament opposing
a clampdown on human rights groups.
Police arrested the women outside
the parliament building in central Harare after they presented a petition
against a proposed law that would ban international human rights groups
and cut off foreign funding to local groups that promote democracy.
The women last week staged
a protest march from the second city of Bulawayo to Harare to draw attention
to the plight of scores of groups promoting civil society in the southern
"We have walked 440km
to deliver this petition to Parliament and hope and pray that you will
hear our cries and not pass this Bill," said the petition from the
women, most of whom were members of the Women from Zimbabwe Arise (Woza)
"If the Bill is passed
in its current form, it will strike at the very existence of us and our
"We do try to survive
independently but without help from NGOs (non-governmental organisations),
our families and those of us who are ill shall surely fade away and die,"
said the petition, which was also backed by Aids support groups.
In August the government of
President Robert Mugabe made the Bill public, but it has yet to be presented
Rights activists have mobilised
to oppose the clampdown, resulting in several arrests over the past weeks
for staging illegal protests under provisions of Zimbabwe's tough security
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