UN condemns killing of Zim opposition activists
The United Nations’s top human rights official on Wednesday expressed shock and issued a strong condemnation of the killing of opposition political activists in Zimbabwe.
“It is hard to get a very precise picture of the full range of the violence, or the exact number of politically motivated extra-judicial killings,” said Louise Arbour, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
“At one level, there appears to be an increasing pattern of people being targeted for politically motivated assassination. At another, arrests, harassment, intimidation and violence—directed not just at people with political affiliations, but also at members of civil society—are continuing on a daily basis.”
In the past week, several bodies of slain political activists for opposition party Movement for Democratic Change have been found, including one of the party’s provincial treasurers, Shepherd Jani, and another activist, Tonderai Ndira.
On Tuesday, opposition head Morgan Tsvangirai said: “Over 50 Zimbabweans have been killed in the past six weeks, many thousands more have been injured, displaced or had their homes destroyed and properties looted.”
Tsvangirai had only returned to Zimbabwe at the weekend after being absent for six weeks over fears for his safety.
Arbour urged the Zimbabwean authorities to investigate and prosecute those responsible, as well as to take urgent steps to protect all Zimbabweans from further attacks.
Arbour also pointed to Zimbabweans fleeing xenophobic violence in South Africa, saying that the killings in Zimbabwe gave the problem an “even sharper edge”.
“For some of the Zimbabweans being chased from their homes and jobs in South Africa, this isn’t simply a serious economic issue. They now face a potentially a life-threatening situation in both countries,” she said.—AFP