Pressure builds on Mbeki over Zim

Gift Phiri

PRESIDENT Thabo Mbeki has been urged to ratchet up pressure on the government of Zimbabwe to end the continued violation of human rights there.



Helvetica, sans-serif”>In an open letter delivered to Mbeki yesterday, Amnesty International (AI) South Africa, AI Zimbabwe and other civic organisations from the two countries pleaded with the South African leader to intervene and halt the unrelenting nature of the crisis in Zimbabwe. The signatories highlighted the disparity between the ideals and principles enshrined both in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, the mission of the African Union and the reality of the situation as experienced by millions of Zimbabweans.


“In elaborating the vision of the African Union and mission of the African Union Commission, African leaders prioritised the realisation of social, economic, civil, cultural and political rights, and made a commitment to assist member states to realise these rights,” the signatories said. “We are therefore urging African states to take a more public stand in resolving the crisis in Zimbabwe.”


The organisations that signed the open letter – many of whom are involved in monitoring the human rights situation in Zimbabwe – outlined concrete steps, which are needed to tackle human rights abuses.


These steps include the repeal or amendment of all legislation which violates internationally recognised rights, an immediate commitment to restore systems for state accountability, the impartial investigation of all allegations of human rights violations leading to those responsible being brought to justice, and a public commitment to ensuring the right of all Zimbabweans to food, including transparent and impartial distribution of all state-controlled food supplies.