Letter of Concern submitted to the Government of Zimbabwe on the Eve of the Summit of the Southern African Development Community Heads of States and Governments, to be held in Luanda, Angola (14 – 19 August 2011)
The member organisations of the South African No Torture Consortium (SANToC) express deep concern at the continuing and apparently intensifying climate of political intolerance and a lack of respect for the rule of law in Zimbabwe. We decry the apparent continuing hounding of Zimbabwean activists who have been forced to flee political persecution, intimidation, harassment and torture in their own country. Reports of physical attacks, killings and disappearances are increasing. SANToC deplores the failure of the Zimbabwean state to guarantee the safety of all Zimbabweans regardless of their political affiliation.
Three years after the devastating post-election violence of 2008 in Zimbabwe, there are genuine fears that the country is heading towards a repeat of the atrocities that characterised the 2008 post-election period. Any election conducted in a climate of political fear and violence cannot bring a legitimate and accountable government into power. A government elected through violence is one that will not serve the best interests of its citizens on the basis of equality and non-discrimination.
SANToC thus calls on the Heads of States of all the countries of the region to demand that the Zimbabwean government respect the fundamental rights of all its citizens in recognition that Zimbabwe belongs to all its people, irrespective of their political affiliation. We call on these governments to reject the continuing oppression of Zimbabweans by their own state. We call on the South African state to protect Zimbabwean asylum-seekers in South Africa.
There can be no peace in the region without an end to the injustices being perpetrated with almost total impunity by Zimbabwean officials against Zimbabwean civilians. It is time for the peoples of Southern Africa to demand an end to these atrocities. This call is supported by the member organisations of the South African No Torture Consortium.
11 August 2011