HUMAN Rights watchdog Amnesty International is lobbying the Africa Union (AU) to compel the Zimbabwean government to uphold human rights.

In its latest  report titled  Zimbabwe: Human Rights Under Attack which is a Review of Zimbabwe’s Human Rights Record in the Period 2018-2023, Amnesty International said  President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s rule had failed to reform the ”abysmal legacy of human rights under  the late former President Robert Mugabe’s leadership”.

In the report, Amnesty International also said the Southern African Development Community must protect Zimbabweans  from  abuse and call on authorities to uphold human rights before, during and after all elections.

“Amnesty International further calls upon the African Union to pay close attention to the deteriorating human rights situation in Zimbabwe. Amnesty International requests that the AU call on Zimbabwe to uphold its human rights obligations under the AU Constitutive Act 199 and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

“Amnesty International further calls upon the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to undertake a country visit to Zimbabwe, through its relevant special mechanisms, to investigate allegations of human rights violations in the country and request relevant letters of authority to allow its special mechanisms to conduct inspection and promotion visits,” the report read.

The report raised concerns over the country’s shrinking democratic space over the past five years.

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“In the past five years, the human rights situation in Zimbabwe has continued to be of extreme concern,” Amnesty International said.

It said the right to peaceful protest, which is guaranteed by the Constitution of Zimbabwe and international human rights treaties to which the country is a state party, has been repeatedly violated. The military has been heavily involved in policing civilian gatherings, leading to an intimidating atmosphere for those wishing to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, Amnesty International said.

“The government has ramped up efforts to suppress human rights, with individuals who speak out or organise protests facing persecution,” said the rights watchdog.

Local civic society organisations such as ZimRights and the Zimbabwe Peace Project have also accused the Zanu PF regime of gross human rights violations.