Zimbabwe: Time for SADC to Demand Human Rights Accountability

Zimbabwe Human Rights

As President Emmerson Mnangagwa prepares to assume the chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the regional body needs to confront the escalating repression in Zimbabwe.

Development Diaries reports that the 44th summit of the SADC, which has 16 members, will be held in Harare, Zimbabwe, on 17 August, 2024, and at this meeting, Mnangagwa will assume the role of chair of the sub-regional body.

According to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, since assuming power in a military coup in 2017, the administration of Mnangagwa has committed serious human rights violations and shown a failure or unwillingness to institute lasting human rights reforms.

Civic and political space have been curtailed by acts of violence, intimidation, harassment, and repression directed mostly towards members of the opposition and civil society activists. In the last year, numerous activists have been abducted and subjected to torture.

In recent months, the Zimbabwean authorities intensified their crackdown on opposition parties and civil society organisations, undermining democratic principles and human rights.

SADC must use this opportunity to unequivocally denounce these actions and urge the Zimbabwean government to respect the fundamental freedoms of its citizens.

It is crucial for the member states to stand in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe. Some citizens of the country are increasingly subjected to arbitrary arrests, harassment, and violence for exercising their right to dissent and participate in the democratic process.

The Zimbabwe constitution and international law such as the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provide for the pretrial rights of detainees and guarantee freedom of assembly and association, as well as freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, or punishment.

Development Diaries calls on SADC to make use of the August summit and President Mnangagwa’s presidency to press Zimbabwe to implement significant reforms that will enhance respect for human rights, democracy, and international law.

The regional body should call for an immediate end to the crackdown and demand accountability for those responsible for perpetrating abuses.

Source: HRW

Photo source: AP


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