Human Rights in Zimbabwe
Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a briefing on the human rights situation in Zimbabwe.
In 2008, around 200 people were killed and thousands injured in the wake of political elections in Zimbabwe. After the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai from Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T), pulled out of the elections due to violence and intimidation of his supporters, Robert Gabriel Mugabe eventually took power in what was widely condemned as a sham election. Due to widespread criticism, a government of national unity was formed with Mugabe’s party, Zimbabwe Africa National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), and the opposition parties in 2009. While the government promised major reforms, these have yet to be implemented.
In the lead up to the referendum on a new constitution next month and the presidential elections tentatively scheduled for March 2013, there is growing concern that human rights violations will increase in the country. Reports suggest there has already been an increasing crackdown on the opposition including: assault and harassment of civil society groups, arrests of peaceful protestors, persecution of journalists and human rights defenders and the use of repressive defamation laws to prevent criticism of Mugabe or the government.
The panelists will provide an overview of the current situation in Zimbabwe and discuss how the upcoming referendum and elections next year may affect the human rights situation in the country.
Sarah Hager, Chair of the Southern Africa Co-Group, Amnesty International and Adjunct Professor of International Relations at American University
Ann Hollingsworth, Senior Analyst, US Advocacy and Research, International Crisis Group
Vukasin Petrovic, Director of Programs in sub-Saharan Africa, Freedom House