Human rights leaders slam harassment of WOZA
By Alex Bell
International human rights leaders have slammed the ongoing harassment and
intimidation of pressure group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), in a joint
protest directed at Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa.
A group of seventeen leading human rights groups from around the world have
co-signed a protest letter over the imprisonment and intimidation of WOZA’s
leaders, Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu. The pair was this week
finally released from Mlondolozi Prison on bail, 13 days after their arrest
and detention on ‘kidnapping’ and ‘theft’ charges. The two deny the
allegations, which WOZA has called ‘malicious’ and ‘spurious’.
In a public letter to Chinamasa this week, the seventeen international
groups stated that they are “greatly distressed” about the treatment of the
WOZA women. The letter urges the government to guarantee the safety of
Williams and Mahlangu and to grant them a speedy and fair trial. It further
calls for the protection of all human rights defenders in Zimbabwe, “who
continue to press the government to adhere to international human rights
standards, provide access to basic services, and improve living conditions.”
The organisations are the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human
Rights, Amnesty International USA, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch,
TransAfrica Forum, Human Rights First, National Endowment for Democracy,
Physicians for Human Rights, Institute for Policy Studies, Africa Action,
Global Rights, Calling All Crows, Dispatch and State Radio, Schooner Fund,
Just Associates and Elias Fund.
You can read the letter here:
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