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African Union Urged to Follow Up on Reports Alleging Zimbabwe Torture


The Human Rights Institute of Southern Africa said the breakdown of the rule of law in Zimbabwe has made it difficult for people to obtain justice or enforce judgments, especially those against the state

The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights has been urged to investigate alleged torture and other human rights abuses in Zimbabwe and Swaziland.

In a statement to the commission, which met in Banjul, Gambia, on Thursday, the Human Rights Institute of Southern Africa said the continental body should appoint special rapporteurs to investigate alleged human rights abuses in the two countries.

The organization said the breakdown of the rule of law in Zimbabwe has made it difficult for people to obtain justice or enforce judgments, especially those against the state.

Though the Southern African Development Community has urged President Robert Mugabe to accelerate democratic reforms, rights activists say little has changed. The Zimbabwe Peace Project reported that his ZANU-PF party is still coercing people to sign a petition against Western travel and financial sanctions on him and others.

ZANU-PF has been accused of using the state security apparatus to silence dissent.

Human rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba, executive director of the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum in South Africa, told VOA Studio 7’s reporter Blessing Zulu that the call by the Human Rights Institute for the AU commission to investigate rights abuses is encouraging.

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