US: Zimbabwe in dire need of human rights reforms

In a recent human rights report issued by the US Department of State, Zimbabwe was criticized for slow improvements in free and fair democratic elections. 

The statement listed some systemic flaws, including unconstitutional influence of tribal leaders; voter intimidation; and heavily biased state media favoring the ruling party. 

Despite current Zimbabwean President, Emerson Mnangagwa, voicing his pledge to improve human rights reforms, the nationwide protests that made headlines last year told the world something different. 

Practically no effort was made by Mnangawa to hold abusers of power responsible after security forces responded to protests with lethal force, including killing at least 17 citizens, raping at least 17 women, shooting and injuring 81 people and arresting over 1,000 protestors during door-to-door raids. 

The State Department made clear that a lack of investigation and reactionary legislation remains a problem. 

The Mnangawa administration has made progress in amending or repealing anti-assembly laws that violate human rights norms and standards. 

Amendments to the Education Act included banning the use of canes in classrooms and mandating children to attend school until sixteen. NGOs also made significant improvements in domestic violence education and partnerships with local law enforcements to provide effective response.

Still, the country suffers from significant limitations of the press and lack of accountability for state violence. About 70,000 Zimbabweans have been administered the COVID-19 vaccine, against the global progress of around 456 million. The likelihood of progress in future elections is not promising.

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