Under pressure the people of Zimbabwe certainly are

Pressure is definitely mounting within Zimbabwe as the countdown begins towards the second round of elections scheduled for 27 June.

Sadly this pressure is manifesting itself in a terrible catalogue of human rights abuses: intimidation, torture, harassment, and arbitrary detention are the order of the day it would seem.

The opening paragraph of today’s Leader in The Times presents a haunting image of the current situation in Zimbabwe: five MDC supporters were set alight yesterday, two died.

In fact, Zimbabwe hasn’t been off the news agenda at all this week. 

Mugabe’s presence in Rome for the emergency UN Food Summit caused quite a stir at the beginning of the week; this was then swiftly followed by the announcement that aid organisation CARE International had been banned and that Opposition Leader, Morgan Tsvangirai had been detained, and the week has ended with foreign diplomats being held by Zimbabwe’s police in breach of the Vienna Convention, and all charities being banned from operating in the country.

According to CNN, the UN is planning to urge Zimbabwe to revoke this latest decision. Let’s hope they’re successful. 

Last week WOZA (Women of Zimbabwe Arise) activists – including the leaders, Jenni Williams and Magadonga Mahlangu – were arrested for engaging in peaceful protest.  Sadly that’s a regular occurrence for them.  What is unusual this time though is that bail was denied after the state prosecutor lodged a successful appeal. 

Amnesty’s urging its supporters to call on the authorities in Zimbabwe to demand their release – please add your voice to this call.

Earlier this week, Amnesty produced a damning new report, which detailed some of the abuses that have taken place since the first round of presidential elections in March.  Some of the cases are truly shocking. 

The situation is looking pretty grave for Zimbabweans and the threat of not being given food aid may throw this situation into an even more severe situation.

When Queen first sang  ‘Under Pressure’ something tells me that they weren’t thinking about the human rights activists or opposition supporters in Zimbabwe.  But listening to it now, some of the lyrics seem very relevant to them at the moment:

‘These are the days it never rains but it pours’

Til the next time.

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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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