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LAC in appeal for human rights in Zimbabwe

Wednesday, March 13, 2007
Staff Reporter
The Namibian

NAMIBIA'S Government should use the country's "excellent diplomatic relations" with Zimbabwe to persuade Zimbabwe's government to respect the human rights of people who were detained in a security crackdown on Sunday, the Director of the Legal Assistance Centre urged in an open letter to Prime Minister Nahas Angula yesterday.

"It is with utter dismay that we have learned of the wanton arrests, detentions and torture of several activists and politicians in Zimbabwe on 11 March 2007," LAC Director Norman Tjombe, who is also the Chairperson of Namibia's Non-Governmental Organisations Forum (Nangof), states in the letter.

"We call on the Namibian Government to commit the Government of Zimbabwe to the adherence of international law, the African Charter on Human and People's Rights, and several SADC Treaties and Protocols, which are now violated by the arbitrary actions of the Government of Zimbabwe.

The Governments of Namibia and Zimbabwe have excellent diplomatic relations, and as a result, Namibia is best suited to engage the Zimbabwean officials on this matter," Tjombe stated.

He informed the Prime Minister that the LAC was calling "on the government of Zimbabwe to respect the rights of all detainees, including the rights not to be subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention, their rights not to be subjected to torture and their rights to life", and was demanding that the Zimbabwean government respect the rights of all the people detained over the weekend to enlist the services of lawyers of their choice.

The leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai, was one of the people detained when Zimbabwean police tried to prevent a meeting from taking place in Harare.

Reports surfaced yesterday that Tsvangirai had been badly assaulted and tortured in custody, while another person who was detained, Lovemore Madhuku, was reported to have suffered a broken arm after he was detained.

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