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Elders Launch Campaign Against Rights Abuses in Zimbabwe, Elsewhere


Senior global statesmen in the Elders, a group launched by former South African President Nelson Mandela, have launched a campaign to highlight “continuing human rights abuses” in Zimbabwe as well as Sudan's Darfur region, Chad and Burma.

Launching the campaign this week in South Africa were members including former Irish President Mary Robinson, Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel, former Mozambican President Joachim Chissano and retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Tutu told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe the Elders seek to bring about change in “troubled nations” by working behind the scenes with all concerned - in the case of Zimbabwe including South African President Thabo Mbeki, now mediating crisis resolution talks between the ruling party and opposition.

National Director Alois Chaumba of Zimbabwe's Catholic Commission on Justice and Peace said he hoped the "noble" campaign would keep a spotlight on Zimbabwe.

But Chaumba added the caveat that the Elders' strategy of talking to leaders behind closed doors could complicate or frustrate the mission by allowing senior officials in the countries concerned to evade responsibility for abuses in their countries.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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