ZIMBABWE – The government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Zimbabwe has failed to live up to its promises for change and break with Robert Mugabe’s brutal human rights legacy, Amnesty International has said.
Khanyo Farisè, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa said following an election marred with human rights violations, Mnangagwa was elected, and a new cabinet announced.
Farisè outlined a human rights agenda for Mnangagwa’s second term in office and called on him and his cabinet to improve and prioritize human rights in Zimbabwe.
“A review of Zimbabwe’s human rights record in the period 2018-2023, details how authorities have systematically supressed peaceful dissent, making it increasingly challenging for people to freely express their opinions,” she said.
During the briefing on Sunday in Harare, Farisè also described a disturbing trend towards the militarization of policing and a rise in the use of excessive force by law enforcement during protests.
She said Amnesty International found that individuals who speak out or organize protests often face persecution.
Farisè said in some cases, relatives of protesters have been targeted and harassed as a way of intimidating activists and abduction of human rights defenders and activists has also been on the rise.
“The Mnangagwa administration has lost a historic opportunity to right the wrongs of the past and, instead, has ramped up efforts to suppress human rights,” she said.
Farisè said the cyclical nature of violence would continue until there was genuine political will to uphold human rights and end impunity.
She said the Zimbabwean government should make genuine efforts to deal with the past injustices to ensure that history does not repeat itself.
“Under the Mugabe administration, authorities amended existing legislation or introduced new laws with the excuse of protecting national security or facilitating access to information, to target dissenting views and groups, and limit the space for political debate,” Farisè said.
She said more recently, authorities had followed similar repressive practices.
Farisè said in 2002, the Mugabe administration passed the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), which was misused to thwart the growing influence of opposition groups and other critical voices.
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