Is there now a glimmer of a silver lining around Zimbabwe?

Now that the power-sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai has finally been agreed, perhaps the people of Zimbabwe can hope for a brighter future?  From where I’m standing for millions of Zimbabweans the situation can’t get much worse.

With a crippled economy now on its knees with uncontrollable inflation, more than six out of ten people surviving on food aid and with thousands of people living in fear of arbitrary arrest, detention or torture if they dare to speak out against the authorities, the climate in this southern African country is far from comfortable.

Discussions at the recent African Union Summit centred very much on the heavy sanctions that are in place in Zimbabwe. According to the UK’s Foreign Office Minister, Lord Mark Malloch-Brown who was speaking on the Today programme this morning, there are no plans to change these.

President Mugabe believes that sanctions are choking the economy and places much of the blame on the current state of Zimbabwe on those policies.

On whichever side of this argument you fall, the fact remains that the situation in Zimbabwe desperately needs to improve.  One way in which the situation can be improved is to put a stop to the practice of arbitrary arrest, torture and detention. There should be no pardons for those who committed human rights violations in the post-election period.

Awful human rights abuses have been taken place in Zimbabwe across the board, and in order for Zimbabwe to become a strong, united and fortified country once again, perpetrators of such abuses should be brought to justice, and the victims should receive full and appropriate reparation.

The people of Zimbabwe have waited far too long for a stable government. Now it seems there’s one in place attention must turn to improving the rights and conditions for all Zimbabweans – indeed this is long overdue.

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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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