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Zimbabwe Legislation Would Give Human Rights Commission Legal Powers

The Zimbabwe Peace Project said that although the political environment is increasingly volatile, reported cases of violence decreased in April to 977 from 1,188 after ZANU-PF completed an anti-sanctions campaign

The Zimbabwean Parliament has introduced legislation that would give the relatively new Human Rights Commission powers to bring charges against rights violators.

Set up last year, the commission lacks the authority to bring cases for prosecution. The legislation will give it a legal mandate to take action based on its investigations.

Human rights advocates welcome the move but seek formal standing as stakeholders in the commission based on their own work defending human rights in Zimbabwe.

Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe spokesman Ronald Mureverwi said the panel needs the legal powers proposed in the new legislation, telling VOA Studio 7 reporter Tatenda Gumbo that the commission must be able to act on its mandate.

Elsewhere, the Zimbabwe Peace Project said the political situation is increasingly volatile amid talk of elections. Reporting on April political violence, the group said both President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have been getting ready for elections.

Peace Project spokesman Wellington Mbofana told VOA reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that despite this, reported cases of violence declined to 977 in April from 1,188 in March. He attributed this to the conclusion of a ZANU-PF anti-sanctions campaign.