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U.N: Reports of Voter Intimidation, Coercion Ahead Zimbabwe Poll

A woman shows her ink-stained finger after casting her vote in Zimbabwe's presidential and parliamentary elections in the capital Harare March 29, 2008.

GENEVA (Reuters) - Voter intimidation, threats of violence and coercion including people forced to attend political rallies are being increasingly reported ahead of Zimbabwe’s elections on July 30, especially in rural areas, the U.N. human rights office said on Tuesday.

“There has also been the worrying use of disparaging language against female political candidates,” U.N. human rights spokeswoman Elizabeth Throssell told a news briefing in Geneva.

“We call on the authorities – and political parties and their supporters – to ensure that the elections are not marred by such acts so that all Zimbabweans can participate free from fear in a credible election process,” she said.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, editing by Tom Miles

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