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Zimbabwe Rights Groups Plan To Press AU's Konare At Upcoming Summit

Human rights activists in Zimbabwe who were unable to secure a meeting with African Union Chairman Omar Konare during his visit to Harare 10 days ago plan to push their agenda with him at an AU summit coming up in December of January in Ghana.

Konare met with President Robert Mugabe on October 13 and responded to requests for a meeting that his visit concerned African conflicts in Sudan and elsewhere.

Rights advocates said they wanted to speak with Konare, a former president of Mali, about what they described as Harare’s failure to implement rulings by the AU's African Commission on Human and People's Rights concerning the rule of law, evictions and living conditions for those displaced by Harare's 2005 home demolition campaign.

National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations Advocacy Manager Fambai Ngirande said Zimbabwean civic activists were disappointed by Konare's unwillingness to engage civil society during his visit. He argued that the situation in Zimbabwe is just as critical and urgent as those in Sudan and other areas of armed-conflict.

The AU human rights commission presented Konare last year with findings of human rights violations in Zimbabwe, but he has yet to respond, NGO sources said.

Attorney Otto Saki of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he still hopes to see AU action.

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