Mugabe’s rights record under spotlight again

Mugabe’s rights record under spotlight again

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party continues to hog the international limelight regarding its human rights record after the United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour yesterday released a damning post-2013 general elections report.

Source: Mugabe’s rights record under spotlight again – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 7, 2017

BY STAFF REPORTER

The report implicates Mugabe’s party and government structures in abductions and torture of perceived opponents of the regime and civil society activists.

Mugabe has renewed his onslaught on civil society activists and private media as the country inches towards the 2018 general elections, with an ailing Mugabe expected to be the Zanu PF presidential candidate at 94.

“The most important human rights problems remained the government’s targeting of members of non-Zanu PF parties and civil society activists for abduction, arrest, torture, abuse, and harassment; partisan application of the rule of law by security forces and the judiciary; and restrictions on civil liberties, including freedoms of expression and assembly,” the report, released by the US embassy, said.

The report added that Zimbabwe had numerous human rights problems.

“Prison conditions were harsh. The government’s expropriation of private property continued. Executive political influence on and interference in the judiciary continued, and the government infringed on citizens’ privacy rights,” it added.

Government was also accused of failure to investigate reports against Zanu PF activists’ use of violence and the continued harassment of vulnerable groups like vendors and squatters.

“The government generally failed to investigate or prosecute State security [agents] or Zanu PF supporters responsible for violence. Authorities restricted freedoms of expression, Press, assembly, association, and movement. The government evicted citizens, invaded farms and private businesses and properties, and demolished informal marketplaces and settlements,” the report said.

In the near 40-page report, Mugabe’s administration is accused of lacking “the appetite to deal with corruption” and trampling on the rights of minorities like gays.

“Government corruption remained widespread, including at the local level. Violence and discrimination against women; child abuse; and trafficking of men, women, and children were problems. Discrimination against persons with disabilities; racial and ethnic minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons; and persons with HIV and Aids continued,” it said.

The reports also observed that although the 2013 general elections had less violence, the manner in which they were organised without electoral reforms was in itself a violation of the rights of Zimbabweans.

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