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Rights Group Reports Incidence Of Torture Is On Rise In Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum reported this week that incidents of torture have increased in 2007 relative to earlier years, saying 300 cases have been alleged so far this year, well over approximately 200 reported in 2006 and some 170 in 2005.

The United Nations designated Tuesday, June 26, as the International Day in Support of the Victims of Torture. In Bulawayo the rights forum, with the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and other civic groups, concluded a two day workshop on torture.

Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo was to lead prayers for victims of torture Tuesday evening.

Human Rights Forum research chief Tendai Chabvuta noted that out of 14 nations in the Southern African Development Community, only Zimbabwe and Angola have yet to sign the International Convention on Torture.

Meanwhile, rights groups from around the African continent were gathering in Ghana's capital of Accra ahead of an African Union summit that is to culminate in a meeting of heads of state and government on Sunday.

The NGO'S submitted views on the mooted United States of Africa and their concerns about human rights situations in countries such as Zimbabwe and Sudan.

With foreign ministers arriving in Accra to start talks, the rights groups planned days of solidarity with Zimbabwe and Sudan on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

Executive Director Gabriel Shumba of the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum told reporter Carole Gombakomba from Accra that the political-economic integration needed to establish a United States of Africa can only happen if crises such as Zimbabwe's can be resolved.

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