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Amnesty letter-writing guide
When the last elections
were held - in 2008 - a wave of politically motivated violence spread across
the country after the first round of polling. More than 200 people were killed,
10,000 injured and 28,000 forced to flee their homes.
Many of those targeted in 2008 were human rights defenders, who play a crucial role in exposing abuses and supporting victims of violations.
In one such case, Jestina Mukoko was abducted by an armed group thought to be state security agents. She was tortured and held in secret for three weeks and later charged with attempting to overthrow the government.
Jestina is Director of The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), a human rights monitoring organisation that had issued many reports criticising the election-related violence.
With Zimbabwe due to go to the polls again on 31 July we are determined to avoid another wave of brutality. But the attacks have already begun.Update: 12 July 2013With elections just weeks away our new report details how Zimbabwean police are continuing to target and intimidate human rights defenders. Download the report (PDF)
As the country gears up for elections, the human rights community in Zimbabwe, including ZPP and Jestina, is being targeted again. In February, police raided ZPP’s offices and classified staff members as being a ‘threat to state security.
On 8 March Jestina was arrested and charged with ‘operating a private voluntary organisation without registration’, despite it being registered with the High Court. That same day, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission issued a statement that organisations facing police investigations would not be allowed to monitor the referendum or elections.
In 2008 it took the intervention of Zimbabwe’s neighbours in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to stem the bloodshed. This time, we want them to use their influence to prevent the violence from happening in the first place, and send in human rights monitors so that human rights defenders and activists can carry out their work without fear.
Tanzania is chair of the group responsible for peace and security within the region. Help prevent the bloodshed returning in 2013 – sign our petition to the Tanzanian President, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete. Read more about why we're asking you to take action
This action is now closed. Thank you to the 11,500 of you who signed our petition - we will hand it in the Tanzanian High Commission in London on Wednesday 17 July, two weeks ahead of the election date. More details of the hand in and next steps for this campaign to follow.
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