Human Rights Watch on Wednesday urged the Southern African Development Community to follow the lead of other African regional bodies and take a more critical stance where President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF are concerned.
The watchdog group pointed to action by the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, which has pressured incumbent Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo to cede his post to president-elect Alassane Ouattara based on November elections.
Noting a growing trend of violence and breaches of human rights in Zimbabwe, Human Rights Watch argued that SADC must openly list incidents of violence and name the responsible parties, in particular ZANU-PF militants and supporting groups.
Human Rights Watch recently issued a report on violence in Zimbabwe and found evidence of violent actions for which it held ZANU-PF backers mainly to blame.
Human Rights Watch said a lack of accountability for politically motivated violence in Zimbabwe and the Harare government's failure to prosecute offenders in connection with previous incidents will ensure more violence in the next elections.
The organization urged the unity government to launch investigations and prosecute those responsible for past and present human rights violations
Human Rights Watch African Division Senior Researcher Tiseke Kasambala told VOA Studio 7 reporter Tatenda Gumbo that it should be clear to SADC that one side of the so-called unity government is operating in bad faith.
Kasambala said that ECOWAS in condemning Gbagbo acted on its basic principles of democracy, good governance and human rights. She added that if SADC followed suit, it would receive strong support from the African Union as ECOWAS has done.