An international rights lobby group says human rights activists still feel unsafe operating in Zimbabwe, two years after the formation of a unity government.
In a report released last week, the International Federation for Human Rights cited the continuous gagging of the media, harassment of human rights defenders and failure by government to address past abuses as cases in point.
Part of the report, entitled: Steadfast in Protest — Annual Report 2011 Zimbabwe, states: “Two years after the entry into force of a power-sharing government of national unity, human rights defenders involved in the reconciliation process continued to be harassed.”
“Several human rights defenders who organised or participated in peaceful protests on human rights issues were arrested in a context where the notorious Public Order and Security Act remained in force,” reads part of the report.
It adds that political violence, lack of respect for the rule of law and human rights violations remained of serious concern in Zimbabwe and defenders of sexual minorities continued to be targets of repression.
“Journalists and human rights defenders were intimidated and arrested as part of an increased harassment campaign.
“In particular, the authorities have failed to discipline, remove from their posts or charge with criminal offences leaders of the security forces who were involved in human rights violations, abducting and torturing human rights activists.”
The report said although the Zimbabwe Media Council had been formed to replace the Media and Information Commission, privately-owned newspapers continued to operate in an unfavourable climate.