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AU Human Rights Official Said To Urge High-Level Deliberations On Zimbabwe

A top official of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights on Thursday described the unfolding situation in Zimbabwe as alarming and urged the African Union to exercise its authority and take steps to address the crisis, sources said.

AU Commission Vice Chairman Yassir El-Hassan cited alleged human rights abuses which Zimbabwean nongovernmental organizations report to be on the rise. The AU rights body is meeting for a week in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo.

Sources in Brazzaville said El-Hassan, who indicated he was very concerned, might use his influence to push the crisis in Zimbabwe to the AU for serious deliberation.

The Harare government sent attorneys to the session but no high level officials, unlike previous meetings where it has been represented by its minister of justice. A complaint against Harare lodged by human rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba was put off until May, 2008, because the Zimbabwean government had not filed a response.

Rights lawyer Anah Moyo, present at Thursday's session, told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that rights activists who met earlier this week under the Africa NGOs Forum presented resolutions on Zimbabwe in the session.

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