Thursday, January 26, 2006

AU and Zim human rights report


Activists have condemned inaction by the African Union at its just-concluded summit on a report from its own human rights commission documenting human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, accusing South Africa of again providing Harare with political cover.

The AU summit in Khartoum, Sudan, this week declined to take up the report from the Gambia-based African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, which was critical of the Zimbabwean government’s 2005 slum demolitions which left hundreds of thousands of people homeless, among other alleged human rights violations.

A Johannesburg newspaper quoted South African Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dhlamini Zuma as saying the Zimbabwe report was not tabled because Zimbabwe and other African countries facing similar accusations had not had time to respond. But Harare has officially refused to acknowledge the AU commission’s report.

International relations professor Stephen Chan of the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies told reporter Carole Gombakomba that it is a “shame” the African leadership gathered under the AU is not prepared to tackle such issues.

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