NGOs strengthen appeal to SADC leaders to break silence on Zimbabwe human rights violations

Johannesburg, 12 August 2005

  • Zimbabwe's current political and economic turmoil will be high on the agenda when the Southern African Development Community Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (SADC-CNGO) meet from 13 -16 August in Gaborone, Botswana, prior to SADC's 25th Summiton 17 August.

Joining over 100 civil society organisations at the NGO meeting, CIVICUS: World Alliance on Citizen Participation will launch 'Zimbabwe at the Crossroad', a documentary film aimed at encouraging regional leaders to break their silence on the ongoing human and civic rights violations in Zimbabwe.

Reflecting on Zimbabwe's promising past and tumultuous present, this engaging film follows citizens and civil society groups at recent regional solidarity rallies and concerts co-facilitated by CIVICUS and Amnesty International Southern Africa, in conjunction with local organisations in the respective countries.

The rallies, held on 12 March, two weeks prior to the 31 March election, gathered over 8,000 people at three Zimbabwe border points at Musina (South Africa), Livingstone (Zambia) and Manica (Mozambique) to appeal for regional and international awareness of violations of freedom of expression, assembly and basic human rights in Zimbabwe.

"The situation in Zimbabwecannot be ignored by neighbouring countries," says David Kalete, CIVICUS Director of Programmes, in the film. 'In the absence of clear messages from African leaders, the impression is given that Western countries are taking the lead in delivering the hard messages on Zimbabwe. We need to take a lead in creating a change in the country," says Kalete.