SOUTH AFRICA: AFRICAN ACTIVISTS SPEAK OUT ON ZIMBABWE

Amnesty International is also calling for a resolution concerning the human rights situation in Zimbabwe at the UN Commission on Human Rights now meeting in Geneva.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson have recently raised their concerns about intimidation and human rights violations in the run-up to the recent presidential elections.

Amnesty International's SADC Network, representing the organisation's African members in Angola, Botswana, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, said:

'The adage ‘If Not Us, Who, If Not Now, When?' has never rung more true than at present for the protection of human rights in Zimbabwe.'

Samkelo Mokhine, Amnesty International South Africa spokesman and member of a research delegation that visited Zimbabwe during the elections, said:

'If African countries do not take the lead in the protection of human rights in Zimbabwe this can only be to the detriment of its citizens.

'Ordinary Zimbabweans who have borne the brunt of human rights violations since the Matabeleland massacres in the early eighties, through the parliamentary elections in 2000 to the Presidential elections in 2002, are now desperately looking towards Africa - not Europe or Scandinavia - for an unequivocal acknowledgement of their suffering.

'Support for investigations by the United Nations into human rights violations in Zimbabwe will lay to rest any illusions promoted by the Zimbabwean authorities that the suffering of ordinary Zimbabweans is a figment of their own imaginations.'

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