Accra forum divided on Zimbabwe

Accra- Ghana (PANA) -- An African Civil Society Solidarity public hearing on democracy and human rights in Zimbabwe, ended here Thursday in disagreement.
The hearing, organised ahead of the African Union (AU) July summit, was initiated by local and international rights organisations.
Speakers from Zimbabwe, including lawyers, trade unionists, students and a journalist, who claimed to be victims of human rights abuse, said African leaders should put pressure on the government of President Robert Mugabe to end the alleged violations.
They cited alleged abductions, sexual abuse, arrest and detention without trial, death and burning of houses, allegedly instigated by the ruling party headed by Mugabe.
But some speakers, mainly from Ghana, noted the lack of balance at the forum citing the non-representation of Zimbabwe's ruling party.
Other speakers claimed the negative reports on human rights situation in Zimbabwe by Western media was a deliberate ploy to discredit the Mugabe government.
Lanree Arogundade, Coordinator of the International Press Centre, which moderated the hearing told PANA the political situation in Zimbabwe could destabilise the Southern African region, with a potential danger for trans-border conflicts.
He said civil society organisations had been able to establish a medium for the respect of human rights, recalling the role of the international community against the Apartheid regime in South Africa.
The journalist expressed the hope that the persistence of civil society would help stop reported rights violations in Zimbabwe.

29 juin 2007 19:39:00

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