In other news...

While  the media spotlight beams on the Israel-Gaza conflict, there is a danger of other human rights and humanitarian crises elsewhere in the world being overlooked. And for many people living in Zimbabwe the situation remains particularly tough.

Zimbabwe's government structure remains in tatters while no agreement has been reached with the power-sharing deal, months after that decision was made; the already stretched healthcare system is being crushed under the weight of a ferocious cholera epidemic and the crippling economy is forcing several teachers, doctors and other professionals to leave the country or live under difficult conditions.

Yesterday the World Health Organisation reported that the death toll for the cholera outbreak now stands at more than 1,700 and the deteriorating sanitation infrastructure in the country is only aggravating this.

Against this backdrop, human rights activists are still under real threat of being abducted or held in arbitrary detention.

Jestina Mukoko – a well-known human rights activist in Zimbabwe – is one of dozens of activists who have been abducted in recent months in Zimbabwe. On Christmas Eve, Jestina ‘turned up’ at a police station and was taken to court. But as The Independent reports today, the courts ruled that she and other activists should remain in custody.  It’s still not clear what happened to Jestina when she was seized from her home on 3rd December and was forcibly disappeared. But what is clear is that no efforts have been made to fully investigate her disappearance.

Zimbabwe now needs a stable political environment to restore the country’s infrastructure and to address the human rights abuses that have been committed over the past year.

The situation in Zimbabwe has to improve in 2009, as I shudder to think what life would be like for people living in that country if it doesn’t.  

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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