Human rights in Zimbabwe

Human rights in Zimbabwe - The African country of Zimbabwe...

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The African country of Zimbabwe, much like other African countries, has only attained its independence in recent years. Having been dominated by colonial rule for centuries, Zimbabwe finally declared its independence from its colonial masters in 1980, after years of civil war. Since Zimbabwe’s independence, times have been rough. Human rights conditions have worsened, land disputes have increased, food shortages are crippling the country, and economic instability threatens everything Zimbabwe had fought to achieve. Zimbabwe has recently been in international headlines for its numerous violations of voter rights in recent presidential voting. This short summary will analyze human rights, especially political rights, in Zimbabwe as well as try to explain why conditions are that way. Robert Mugabe is the acting president of Zimbabwe and has been since independence. After independence, the country was relatively stable and enjoyed many freedoms (Freedom). However, from 1983 to 1987, the government violently began its suppression of any form of opposition. A struggle between the nations’ largest minority group, the Ndebele, and Mugabe’s ethnic Shona group, led the death of almost 20,000 civilians (Freedom). In 2000, the leading oppositional group called the Movement for Democratic Change defeated a referendum that would have greatly increased Mugabe’s power (Freedom). Since that victory, however, Mugabe has done everything in his power to silence all opposition. According to the U.S. State department, there were several reports of the government involved in murdering political opponents in 2007 (U.S State Dept. 2008). Over 50 opposition and civil society activists were assaulted and arrested in 2007 during a prayer meeting they were holding. The party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai , told the BBC he was beaten over the head, arms, knees, back and had lost a significant amount of blood (Unbowed). Zimbabweans also have little freedom of assembly; laws severely restrict this freedom. Politically motivated abductions occur throughout the
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2 country. The U.S State Department estimates hundreds of people were abducted by unidentified assailants, driven to remote locations, tortured and interrogated for a day or two, and then abandoned. These abductions are sponsored by the Zimbabwean government in hopes of dismantling the opponent’s political strategies before elections (U.S State Dept. 2008). Also in 2007, the government put a three-month ban on political rallies, after opposition groups held demonstrations launching their campaigns (World Report). Torturing is not only used on political opponents, but also on suspected criminals or citizens in custody. One Non- Governmental Organization in Zimbabwe accounted for 3,463 cases of physical and physiological torture upon ordinary citizens; nearly triple the number from the year before (U.S.
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Human rights in Zimbabwe - The African country of Zimbabwe...

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