UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has urged Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to ensure the upcoming elections will be free and fair. Pillay began her first ever visit to Zimbabwe this week.
“It was a very important meeting with President Mugabe, where he recounted to me the past history of Zimbabwe and attributed some of the current problems to the past. I commended the president for making a call that there should be no violence in future elections. I urged him to continue to make such calls. I also urged him to ensure that the future elections will be free and fair and free from violence, “ Pillay said after her meeting with the president.
During her five-day visit which began on Sunday 20 May, she has met other leaders in the country including the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
After a meeting with the UN Human Rights Chief, the Prime Minister noted that there are still challenges in the country.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said: “There has been progress since the formation of GNU (Government of National Unity). The incidents are still there and we are addressing them. We hope that the forthcoming election will be free and fair and legitimate – away from violence.”
Earlier, Pillay described her meeting with the Prime Minister as candid, saying: “The Prime minister was very firm, forthright and convinced me of his commitment towards protecting human rights and his goal is also to have successful elections here.”
She also met with civil society organisations.
Zimbabwe has in the recent past been in the spotlight for human rights violations and violent elections.
The international community imposed sanctions on the country in the early 2000s, following reports of election rigging and suppression of the opposition.
Zimbabwe is due to hold elections sometime during the next year.