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U.N. Rights Commissioner Due in Zimbabwe to Assess Situation

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, is due in Zimbabwe Sunday for a five-day tour following an invitation by the power-sharing government.

While political violence has eased over the past two years, civic groups criticize President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party, which controls state security, for failing to stem human right abuses.

Observers say the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee, set to quell tensions and respond to political clashes around the country, has not been effective.

They say even amid calls for peace and tolerance by Mr. Mugabe on different national occasions, there have been continued incidences of human rights violations.

United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Alain Noudehou told VOA that Pillay will meet government officials, political party leaders and civic society groups, to discuss rights issues in the country.

Though many agree the political situation has improved, Human Rights Watch says it has documented a rise in violence, mostly perpetrated by Zanu PF activists.

Human Rights Watch’s African Division Executive Director, Daniel Bekele, said during her visit, Pillay should raise the international community’s concerns about Harare's poor human rights record.

In 2009, the government refused a U.N. rights investigator Manfred Nowak entry into the country as he flew in for meetings with activists and assess the human rights situation.

Nowak, who strongly condemned the incident as "totally unheard of," was detained over night on arrival in Harare and deported the following day.