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CIVICUS Monitor Adds Zimbabwe to International Human Rights Watchlist Over Crackdown on Dissenting Voices

FILE: Police escorting protestors to a local magistrates court in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe has been added to the CIVICUS Monitor's international Human Rights Watchlist following a crackdown on non-governmental organization, the arrest and detention of opposition members and the intensification smear campaigns against diplomatic missions.

In a statement CIVICUS, a global alliance of over 10,000 civil society organisations and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world, said the southern African nation is among 50 nations that have a “depressed” rating.

CIVICUS said concerning developments include President Emmerson Mnangagwa targeting NGOs and members of the opposition ahead of next year's election.

The ‘Watchlist’ is released by the CIVICUS Monitor every quarter and highlights 4-6 countries, where there have been significant increases in attacks against the right to free speech, the right to protest and the right to freedom of association. The other countries to be included on the latest Watchlist are Guatemala, Serbia, Sri Lanka, and Guinea.

In Zimbabwe, the CIVICUS Monitor is particularly concerned about government’s suspension of the registrations of various Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), smear campaigns being used against civil society organisations and diplomatic missions and the introduction of legislation to further restrict the work of civil society.

“The Monitor methodology rates the state of civic freedoms for all countries. Zimbabwe is currently rated REPRESSED. There are a total of 50 countries in the world with this rating. It is the second-worst rating a country can receive.”

CIVICUS is an online platform that tracks the latest developments to civic freedoms, including freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, across 197 countries and territories.

Presidential spokesperson, George Charamba, was unreachable for comment as he was not responding to calls on his mobile phone.