Researched and compiled by the Refugee Documentation Centre of Ireland
on 8 April 2011
Current human rights information in Zimbabwe
In April 2011 Amnesty International notes:
“The Zimbabwean police authorities must end the systematic harassment and intimidation of human rights groups, Amnesty International said today after an NGO leader became the latest activist targeted with politically motivated charges” (Amnesty International (1 April 2011) Zimbabwean human rights leader charged as crackdown continues).
In March 2011 a report by Voice of America states:
“A coalition of human rights groups in Zimbabwe says free and fair elections are unlikely and government abuses are escalating. Leaders of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition told reporters Wednesday security forces loyal to longtime president Robert Mugabe have been arresting cabinet ministers, lawmakers, and activists. They said the human rights situation in Zimbabwe is getting worse and worse, and they predict violence would further intensify if elections are held this year” (Voice of America (23 March 2011) Zimbabwe Rights Group: Human Rights Situation Rapidly Deteriorating).
A report published by Human Rights Watch in March 2011 states:
“Two years since the formation of a power-sharing government that was expected to end human rights abuses and restore the rule of law, politically motivated violence and the lack of accountability for abuses remain a serious problem in Zimbabwe” (Human Rights Watch (8 March 2011) Perpetual Fear, Impunity and Cycles of Violence in Zimbabwe,p.3).
A report published in March 2011 by Amnesty International points out that:
“Human rights and political activists in Zimbabwe are facing a major clampdown, with over 60 currently held in detention and many allegedly tortured” (Amnesty International (3 March 2011) Urgent Action, Crackdown On Activists In Zimbabwe).
In March 2011 a report published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights states:
“The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed deep concern Tuesday about the continuing illegal detention and reported ill-treatment of 45 members of civil society in Zimbabwe, who have allegedly been charged with treason for discussing events in Egypt and Tunisia. She also called for their speedy release. “As many people in North Africa have been pointing out increasingly loudly and clearly, there is no true democracy without freedom of expression and assembly,” Pillay said. “It is therefore both deeply ironic and disturbing that, in Zimbabwe, activists are being arrested and mistreated simply for discussing North Africans’
efforts to bring about change through largely peaceful protests.” On 19 February, police arrested the coordinator of the International Socialist Organisation and 44 other social justice and human rights activists who were attending a roundtable focused on recent events in Egypt and Tunisia. The activists have reportedly been charged with treason under the Criminal Law Act of Zimbabwe, and several of them claim to have been beaten since being taken into detention. “These arrests appear to be part of a growing crackdown on civil society and members of the political opposition, and are a clear sign that the establishment of a consolidated democracy in Zimbabwe is still very far from assured,” Pillay said. “All those who are being illegally held in detention should be released without delay. Freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are rights guaranteed under Zimbabwean and international law.” “(Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1 March 2011) Zimbabwe: Pillay concerned about civil society crackdown after mass arrest).
A report issued in February 2011 by Amnesty International states:
“On the second anniversary of the Government of National Unity (GNU), Amnesty International is urging Zimbabwe’s coalition government to act on ongoing human rights abuses and to institute reforms of the security sector and the media. Two years since the unity government was set up in Zimbabwe, Amnesty International is concerned about lack of progress in implementing key reforms to address the legacy of human rights abuses. The hope for an end to a decade of human rights abuses that greeted the unity government two years ago, is rapidly fading away and has been replaced by fear and instability amid talk of another election in 2011” (Amnesty International (11 February 2011) Zimbabwe: Urgent need for security sector reform to stem human rights abuses).
Amnesty International (1 April 2011) Zimbabwean human rights leader charged as crackdown continues
Amnesty International (3 March 2011) Urgent Action, Crackdown On Activists In Zimbabwe
Amnesty International (11 February 2011) Zimbabwe: Urgent need for security sector reform to stem human rights abuses
Human Rights Watch (8 March 2011) Perpetual Fear, Impunity and Cycles of Violence in Zimbabwe
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1 March 2011)
Zimbabwe: Pillay concerned about civil society crackdown after mass arrest
Voice of America (23 March 2011) Zimbabwe Rights Group: Human Rights Situation Rapidly Deteriorating
This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Refugee Documentation Centre within time constraints. This response is not and does not purport to be conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please read in full all documents referred to.