Rapidly shrinking civic space and decline in freedoms in Zimbabwe 43 years after independence

As Zimbabwe approaches elections later this year, freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly have come under increasing attack

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Zimbabwean wave their national flag during a ceremony marking the 28th anniversary of independence from Britain on April 18, 2008 in Harare. DESMOND KWANDE/AFP/Getty Images)

Zimbabweans are marking forty-three years of independence from colonial rule amid the reality of a rapidly shrinking civic space, including criminalisation of dissent and targeting of political activists and human rights defenders, Amnesty International has said.

“Forty-three years after independence, authorities are yet to guarantee in practice the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly which are increasingly being threatened despite being guaranteed under the constitution and international law,” said Flavia Mwangovya, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East and Southern Africa.

“The right to freedom of peaceful assembly has continuously been violated and undermined with the authorities refusing to give clearance for some of the main opposition party’s rallies, arresting and convicting peaceful protesters and using unnecessary and excessive force to stop protests.

Authorities must stop criminalizing dissent and ensure the leveling of the playing field as the country fast approaches the elections

“As Zimbabwe approaches elections later this year, freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly have come under increasing attack. Dissenting voices are being criminalised, with some opposition activists put in lengthy pre-trial detentions.” said Mwangovya.

“Authorities must stop criminalizing dissent and ensure the leveling of the playing field as the country fast approaches the elections. The opposition must be free to carry out their campaigns and individuals and groups must be protected from politically motivated violence.

“Authorities must promote, protect and uphold the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, as well as guarantee the socioeconomic rights of every Zimbabwean.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Amnesty International.

Amnesty International.
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Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organization focused on human rights.

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