News & Events

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Zimbabwe Background

Recent Events

There are ongoing reports of systematic violations of human rights in Zimbabwe under the Mugabe administration and his party ZANU-PF, who have been in power since the country gained its independence in 1980.

According to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch the government of Zimbabwe violates the rights to shelter, food, freedom of movement and residence, freedom of assembly and the protection of the law. There have been assaults on the media, the political opposition, civil society activists, and human rights defenders.

Opposition gatherings are frequently the subject of brutal attacks by the police force, such as the crackdown on Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) rallies during the 2008 election campaign. In the run up to the elections, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and 49 other opposition activists were arrested and severely beaten by the police. After his release, Morgan Tsvangirai told the BBC that he suffered head injuries and blows to the arms, knees and back, and that he lost a significant amount of blood.

Injuries from post election violence

In mid-September, 2008, after protracted negotiations overseen by the leaders of South Africa and Mozambique, Mugabe and Tsvangirai signed a power-sharing deal which would see Mugabe retain control over the police and army and Tsvangirai sworn in as Prime Minister. One year on however, Human Rights Watch have called the power sharing agreement, ‘a sham’, stating that, ‘from a human rights perspective, nothing has changed for the better. Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF are still fully in control.’

International news agencies have mostly been banned from filming or reporting from Zimbabwe. They continue to report on happenings within Zimbabwe from neighboring countries such as South Africa.