Rights groups seek AU intervention in Harare

Lagos – More than 50 Nigerian and Zimbabwean human rights groups wrote a letter on Monday to the African Union (AU) chairperson, Nigeria’s President Olusegun Obasanjo, on alleged rights abuse in the southern African country.

“We are asking you, as chair of the AU, to call

publicly on the government of Zimbabwe to implement in full the recommendations made by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights,” the groups said in the letter, published by The Guardian newspaper here.

The Commission visited Zimbabwe in June 2002 and the AU adopted its report last January.

The letter to the AU chairperson comes ahead of a Commonwealth Summit, scheduled for November 25-27 in Malta in which the issue of Zimbabwe’s suspension from the mainly English-speaking fold is expected to be discussed.


In the report, the commission concluded that “human rights violations occurred in Zimbabwe” and made substantive recommendations for action by the government of Zimbabwe, the letter said.

However, the majority of these recommendations have not been implemented and human rights concerns raised by the Commission in 2002 “remain serious problems today”, it said.

“Respect for the rule of law has deteriorated further since the Commission’s report was published,” the groups complained.

“It deteriorated markedly in 2005 when the government ignored national and international law to launch ‘Operation Murambatsvina’ – a programme of mass forced evictions and demolitions of homes and livelihoods,” it said. — Sapa/AFP

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