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Human Rights Watch: Zimbabwe Should Promote People's Rights

Human Rights Watch, an independent organization that monitors and reports rights abuses around the world, on Wednesday wrote to President Robert Mugabe urging his incoming administration to “take clear, decisive measures” to honor the country’s human rights obligations.

In the letter, the organization encourages Mr. Mugabe to carry out policies that encourage, not weaken, freedom of the press, ensure that the rights to freedom of association and assembly are fully realized, and promote free expression and communication.

The rights watchdog group says President Mugabe’s government should immediately amend or substantially repeal repressive media and security laws to bring them in line with the new constitution.

These include the Police Act, Defence Act, Prisons Act, the Public Order and Security Act and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Criminal Codification Act.

President Mugabe has previously dismissed demands for security sector reform as attempts at regime change by the West.

Human rights watch also called on the new government to investigate all alleged rights abuses cases, including those from the 2008 presidential election run-off.

Efforts to get a comment from President Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba and outgoing Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa were futile as they did not answer their mobile phones.

Human Rights Watch researcher Dewa Mavhinga said Zimbabwe must reform.

Reacting, Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said reforms will surely be implemented but added that they won’t be dictated by the West.