Persistent and serious human right violations continue in Zimbabwe: Amnesty

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Harare, June 19 (ANI): Zimbabwe continues to face human rights violations on a "persistent and serious" scale, as elements in the nation's newly formed coalition are still using violence as a tool to crush democratic voices, Amnesty International has said.

"Persistent and serious human rights violations continue. Some elements of Zanu-PF see use of violence as a legitimate tool to crush political opponents and retain power and are paying only lip service to reforms, biding their time until the next elections," The Telegraph quoted Amnesty International Secretary General, Irene Khan, as saying.

It is the human rights organization's first visit to the country in a decade, but Khan says the virtually improved political climate must pave way for socio economic reforms.

"The human rights situation in Zimbabwe is precarious and the socio- economic conditions are desperate for the vast majority of Zimbabweans. The lack of clear commitment of some parts of government are real obstacles that need to be confronted by the top leadership of Zimbabwe," she said.

Khan said the coalition between Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic change, after a violence-wracked election, had failed to reform the police, army or security forces.

The unity government led by aging dictator completely "ignores human rights concerns for the sake of political expediency," she said.

Her comments clearly reflect how badly perceptions of Mugabe have changed since he was seen as a freedom fighter in the 1970s, when the then Rhodesia was ruled by Ian Smith's racist government.

The "culture of impunity" in Zimbabwe persisted from that time, Khan said, when Amnesty classed Mugabe as a prisoner of conscience. (ANI)

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