Zimbabwe: Arrest of Election Observers Documented

The arrest of 39 election observers working with the Election Resource Centre and the Zimbabwe Election Support Network in Zimbabwe has been documented.

Development Diaries reports that Zimbabwean authorities, according to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), conducted a series of raids on 23 August as Zimbabweans voted in presidential, parliamentary, and local elections.

The raids, it is understood, targeted lawful, independent, and nonpartisan election observation operations.

The action of the Zimbabwean authorities is condemnable as it violates human rights, including the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, association, and access to information.

The rights to freedom of expression and access to information, which are guaranteed by the Zimbabwean constitution and international human rights treaties, particularly the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, must be protected, promoted, and upheld by the authorities.

Preventing non-governmental organisations from observing the elections and issuing independent findings is a worrying development that undermines democracy.

In its Freedom in the World 2023 report, Freedom House ranked Zimbabwe as ‘not free’ with a score of 28 out of 100.

Development Diaries calls on the Zimbabwean government to urgently release all the individuals arrested and allow the work of election observers to continue unabated.

We also call on Zimbabwe to respect its International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights obligations.

Photo source: Reuters


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