A selection of recent reports and news on Zimbabwe
U.S Department of State Zimbabwe 2014 Human Rights Report
29 June 2015
From Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum: According to the U.S Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Zimbabwe 2014 Human Rights Report, in 2014, the most important human rights problems remained the government’s targeting for torture, abuse, arrest, and harassment members of non-ZANU-PF parties and civil society activists; partisan application of the rule of law by security forces and the judiciary; and restrictions on civil liberties.
There were many other human rights problems. Prison conditions were harsh. Lengthy pretrial detention, denial of bail, and lack of access to legal representation were problems. The government’s expropriation of private property continued. Executive political influence and interference in the judiciary continued, and the government infringed on citizens’ privacy rights. The government generally failed to investigate or prosecute state security or ZANU-PF supporters responsible for violence. Authorities restricted freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, and movement.
The government continued to evict citizens; invade farms, private businesses and properties; and demolish informal marketplaces and settlements. Security forces beat, arrested, and detained internally displaced persons (IDPs). The government impeded efforts by non governmental organizations (NGOs) to assist those displaced and other vulnerable populations. The government arrested, detained, prosecuted, and harassed NGO members. Government corruption remained widespread, including at the local level. Violence and discrimination against women; child abuse; trafficking of women and children; and discrimination against persons with disabilities, racial and ethnic minorities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons, and persons with HIV/AIDS were problems. The government interfered with labor-related events.
The government took limited steps to punish security sector officials and ZANU-PF supporters who committed violations, but impunity continued to be a problem.
http://www.amnesty.org.uk/sites/default/files/final_zimbabweradio_report_pdf.pdf Beyond Tokenism: the need to license community radio stations in Zimbabwe
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9457e9a4-fa45-11e4-a41c-00144feab7de.html#axzz3afknbsIK – signs look dire for economy
Human Rights Watch statement on Itai Dzamara.
Zimbabwe: Silence on ‘Disappeared’ Activist
Comply With Court Order to Locate Itai Dzamara, Missing 60 Days
(Johannesburg, May 8, 2015) – Zimbabwe authorities should urgently provide information on the whereabouts of a prominent human rights activist, Itai Dzamara, Human Rights Watch said today. Five armed men abducted Dzamara on March 9, 2015. He has not been heard from since, raising grave concerns that he has been forcibly disappeared.
Family members told Human Rights Watch that state security agents had repeatedly threatened Dzamara prior to his abduction, warning him that something would happen if he did not halt his activism. Authorities have denied involvement in his abduction.
“Zimbabwe authorities appear to be doing nothing to find Itai Dzamara, increasing concerns about his safety,” said Dewa Mavhinga, Southern Africa senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The threats against Dzamara by state security agents are a red flag for Zimbabwe’s international allies to press the government to come clean about what happened to him.”
Dzamara, a 36-year-old journalist and human rights activist, is a leader of the Occupy Africa Unity Square protest group. He has led a number of peaceful protests against the deteriorating political and economic environment in Zimbabwe, petitioned President Robert Mugabe to resign to allow for fresh elections, and called for reforms to the electoral system.
On several occasions in 2014 and 2015, police and supporters of Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party assaulted Dzamara. During a peaceful protest in November 2014, about 20 uniformed police handcuffed and beat Dzamara unconscious with batons. When his lawyer, Kennedy Masiye, tried to intervene, the police beat him as well, breaking his arm. Both were hospitalized.
Two days before he was abducted, Dzamara addressed a political rally organized by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T), calling for mass protests against worsening repression and economic conditions in Zimbabwe.
On March 9, 2015, at about 10 a.m., the five unidentified men dragged Dzamara out of the barber shop where he was having his hair cut near his home in the Glenview suburb of Harare, the capital. The men handcuffed him, forced him into a white pickup truck, and drove off, witnesses said.
Zimbabwe authorities have denied any government involvement in the abduction. On April 10, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, in response to a Human Rights Watch inquiry about Dzamara’s whereabouts, tweeted, “I don’t know, and I have no basis for knowing.”
On March 13, Dzamara’s wife, Sheffra Dzamara, approached the high court in Harare to compel state authorities to search for her husband. Judge David Mangota ordered the home affairs minister, the police commissioner-general, and the director-general of the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) “to do all things necessary to determine his whereabouts.” The ruling included an order to advertise on all state media and work closely with lawyers appointed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights to search for Dzamara “at all such places as may be within their jurisdiction.” The judge ordered the government to report to the court every two weeks on its progress with the case until Dzamara is found.
Senior state security officials have yet to comply with the High Court’s orders.
On April 25, activists organized a car procession to raise awareness about Dzamara’s presumed enforced disappearance. Police arrested 11 of the activists and detained them for six hours, then released them without charge.
Sheffra Dzamara reported in early April that unidentified men were keeping her under constant surveillance and that she feared for her life. Zimbabwean authorities should immediately take steps to ensure the safety of Dzamara’s wife and children, Human Rights Watch said.
Human rights activists in Zimbabwe face severe restrictions on their work. Police frequently misuse laws such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) to ban lawful public meetings and gatherings. Opposition and other activists are unjustly prosecuted under these laws. The government should repeal or appropriately amend both laws to bring them in line with the new constitution and Zimbabwe’s obligations under international law.
Enforced disappearances are defined under international law as the arrest or detention of a person by state officials or their agents followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty, or to reveal the person’s fate or whereabouts. Enforced disappearances violate a range of fundamental human rights protected under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Zimbabwe is a party, including prohibitions against arbitrary arrest and detention; torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment; and extrajudicial execution.
“The Zimbabwean government should immediately establish Dzamara’s whereabouts, and ensure the protection of all his rights,” Mavhinga said. “Failure to do so would demonstrate to the world that Zimbabwe’s poor human rights record has not improved.”
For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Zimbabwe, please visit:
For more information, please contact:
In Johannesburg, Dewa Mavhinga (English, Shona): +27-73-521-1813; or email@example.com. Twitter: @DewaMavhinga
In New York, Daniel Bekele (English, Amharic): +1-212-216-1223; +1-917-385-3878 (mobile); or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @DanielBekele
In London, Anneke Van Woudenberg (English, French): +44-771-166-4960; or email@example.com. Twitter: @woudena
http://africanarguments.org/2015/04/23/as-the-house-burns-whither-the-zimbabwean-opposition-by-nicole-beardsworth/ The Zimbabwean economy is going through structural regression, with rapid deindustrialisation,
burgeoning external debt, an over 85% formal unemployment rate and nominal growth due to declining
investment and a biting liquidity crunch. Between 2011 and 2015 over 4,610 companies closed their
doors leaving over 55 000 workers redundant, putting further pressure on a cash-strapped
population. This year´s harvest has failed due to insufficient rain while a regional maize shortage
and empty government coffers will leave thousands without sufficient food.
UK FCO Human Rights and Democracy Report 2014 (published 12 March 2015) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/zimbabwe-country-of-concern–2/zimbabwe-country-of-concern
Amnesty International’s 2014/15 report is now available:
Go to this website and use the box on the right hand side to search by country.
UKFCO Report – updated 21 January 2015
Zimbabwe’s International Re-engagement: The Long Haul to Recovery (April 2014) go to link below:
Zimbabwe still a country of concern, says FCO
14 April 2014
“The human rights situation in Zimbabwe remained relatively stable throughout 2013, with a slight improvement on previous years. Zimbabwe Peace Project reported fewer than 5,000 cases of politically motivated human rights violations between January to November 2013. This compares to 5,096 in 2012, and 10,188 in 2011, 10,703 in 2010, 14,725 in 2009, and a peak of 23,755 cases recorded for 2008. Levels of politically motivated human rights violations have continued on a downward trajectory throughout the country.
However, serious concerns remain, including political violence, and harassment of political opposition, journalists, judges and human rights defenders (HRDs). Many international human rights indicators still rank Zimbabwe amongst the worst countries in the world in terms of civil liberties, political rights and press freedoms.
Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) feedback on public meeting on the Analysis of the Electoral Amendment Bill on 10 April 2014. See link http://zimbabweassociation.org.uk/diaspora-news/home-news/
– Human Rights Watch, *World Report 2014 – Zimbabwe*, 21 January
2014. Online. UNHCR Refworld, available at:
– International Federation for Human Rights, *Zimbabwe: Two
human rights defenders acquitted*, 28 November 2013. Online. UNHCR
Refworld, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/52de4d5b7.html
– Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), *Zimbabwe’s
ailing economy fuelling child labour*, 9 January 2014. Online. UNHCR
Refworld, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/52cfc57a4.html
– Ireland: Refugee Documentation Centre, *Zimbabwe: How are
returned asylum seekers treated, especially people who deserted the
Zimbabwe armed forces?*, 14 November 2013. Online. UNHCR Refworld, available
– Ireland: Refugee Documentation Centre, *Zimbabwe: Information
on mining/land grabbing by Zanu PF in Zimbabwe, their complicity
9 December 2013. Online. UNHCR Refworld, available at:
The final ZHRC report on the 2013 elections has been released, see link
Recommended listening: four YouTube links on the 2013 Zimbabwe Harmonised elections.
October 2013 – Solidarity Peace Trust Report
Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa said ‘There is no doubt that the new government will be judged on the basis of its human rights record and ability to improve the living conditions for everyone in the country’.
The Government of Zimbabwe must guarantee all human rights enshrined in the new Constitution, Amnesty International said in a Human Rights Agenda issued as President Robert Mugabe approaches the 100th day of his new term.
In the report, Human Rights Agenda for the New Government – 2013 to 2018, the organization urges the Zimbabwean government to take significant steps to improve the country’s poor human rights record
Troubled Water, Human Rights Watch Report November 2013 on water situation in Harare http://www.hrw.org/reports/2013/11/19/troubled-water-0
ZESN 2013 Advance Harmonised Election Report—Full report click
Click on link for Latest briefing from Zimbabwe Europe Network ZEN Briefing Note July (4)
Zimbabwe Election 2013 Resources
www.kubatana.net improves the accessibility of human rights and civic information in Zimbabwe. You can browse over 23,300 articles, reports and other documents. Use our Directory to contact a variety of NGOs, civil society organisations and social justice groups.
Use Google’s Zimbabwe Election Landing Page to keep you continuously updated over the election. Bookmark this page!
Breaking news/results/election updates via text message
Join Kubatana’s popular SMS list and keep yourself informed with our text messages during the election. Just text ‘updates’ to 0772452201. Share this information with your friends and colleagues!
Another AfricaFocus Bulletin available on the web at http://www.africafocus.org/docs13/zim1307b.php) contains two
parallel civil society reports, from the Research and Advocacy Unit and the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, with analyses of the
Zimbabwe Voters’ Roll being used for the July 31 election. Also included is a statement by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
following the first round of “special voting” by Zimbabwe security forces.
http://www.sokwanele.com/ – this is a good site for news on the elections and what is happening back home
202 Zimbabwe – Election Scenarios Latest Report on Zimbabwe from the International Crisis Group
Constitutional Scorecard for a snapshot view of the proposed Constitution
For final Draft Constitution click on : https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=draft+constitution+zimbabwe&rlz=1C1RNNN_enGB406GB406&aq=f&oq=draft&aqs=chrome.1.57j59j61l3j0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
For abridged version click on http://www.swradioafrica.com/
Zimbabwe Referendum Watch (ZRW) : Issue 1
Sokwanele : 03 March 2013
Go to link below for Human Rights Watch Report on Zimbabwe – January 2013
News Updates 2012 /13
For ZEN’s overview of 2nd Stakeholders Conference ZENSpecialFocus2ndStakeholders
For ZEN’s Discussion Paper on Elections click on 2012SeptZENonElections
Click on http://www.sokwanele.com/zigwatch for Issue 40 of Zimbabwe Inclusive government Watch (a summary of recent events)
Financing a Parallel Government – New report by Global Witness http://www.globalwitness.co.uk/library/financing-parallel-government-Zimbabwe
http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/82894 for “Political paralysis of coalition government stalls nation” 13 June 2012
Crisis Coalition Briefing number 69 :http://www.crisiszimbabwe.org/.
Click on http://www.sokwanele.com/ for Issue 37 of Zimbabwe Inclusive government Watch (a summary of recent events)
Click on 201310Weekly for roundup of recent news
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Click on ZENWeekly201215 for a roundup of recent news
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Click on ZENweekly082012 for a roundup of the week’s news
Click on ZENweekly072012 for a roundup of the week’s news
Click on ZENweekly052012 for a roundup of the week’s news
Click on ZENweekly042012 for a roundup of the week’s news
Click on heading above for updated Operational Guidance Note on Zimbabwe, August 2012
Still Here Still Human has published a response to the OGN,
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights summarised analyis of COPAC Draft Constitution (26 September 2012)
Click on link below for current Country of Origin Information on Zimbabwe
Click link for Amnesty report on Zimbabwe
Click on heading above for the report from the Fact Finding Mission who visited Zimbabwe in August 2010