Zimbabwe Elections and Human Rights

Zimbabwe Elections

On July 30, Zimbabweans vote in the first national elections which, for the first time in 38 years will not have Robert Mugabe on the ballot paper. If necessary, a presidential runoff election will be held on September 8. This blog will post live updates from a Human Rights Watch team on the ground in Zimbabwe focusing on the human rights environment including the full enjoyment of rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly prior to, during, and after the elections. This blog will spotlight security forces involvement in the electoral process, application of the laws, and incidents of intimidation and violence and the overall impact on the elections.

Zimbabwe News on HRW.org

For further updates, please visit our Zimbabwe page.

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Zimbabwe President Mnangagwa's Statement on Release of Tendai Biti

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa has issued a statement announcing the release of Tendai Biti. We will update as more information is known. 

Tendai Biti Appears in Court in Harare

Zimbabwean opposition leader Tendai Biti appeared in court today after being taken into police custody following his asylum claim denial in Zambia.

Response to Zambian Government Explanation of Asylum Denial and Deportation Order

Zambia violated its domestic and international law obligations when it forcibly returned Tendai Biti and three others to Zimbabwe after they applied for asylum and in defiance of a court order barring such deportation. 

UNHCR Statement on Deportation of Opposition Members

The UN Refugee Agency has issued a statement expressing concern over Zambia's refusal of asylum claims and subsequent deportation of Tendai Biti and other Zimbabwe opposition members. 

Denied Asylum by Zambia, Opposition Leader Back in Harare

Zimbabwean opposition leader Tendai Biti is now back in Harare after being denied asylum by Zambia and deported, despite his lawyers obtaining a court order to halt the deportation.

Zambia Denies Asylum Claim by Zimbabwe Opposition Leader

Zambian Immigration authorities today rejected a claim of asylum by Tendai Biti, a leading figure in the MDC Alliance opposition party who fled post-election violence and certain arrest in Zimbabwe.  

MDCA principal Tendai Biti addressing a press conference in Harare, Zimbabwe, July 31, 2018. © 2018 Human Rights Watch

Zambia also rejected claims by five others travelling with Biti – lawyer Nqobizitha Mlilo, civil society activist Zachariah Godi, and opposition activists Tawanda Chitekwe, Kudakwashe Simbaneuta, and Clever Rambanepasi –  who lodged their application for asylum at the Chirundu border post.

The six fled the violent security forces’ crackdown in Zimbabwe that has followed post-election protests on August 1.

Biti told Human Rights Watch by phone that the Zambian authorities told him and his five companions that there were no grounds to grant them asylum and were planning to deport them back to Zimbabwe. Biti asked Human Rights Watch to help seek the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) urgent intervention to prevent his forced return to Zimbabwe where he fears for his life.

Read more

Treatment of Opposition Leader Condemned

Statement from United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Eliot Engel

Update: Opposition Members In Zambia Awaiting Word on Asylum Claims

Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Statement on Army's Response to August 1 Protests

Abductions, Beatings, & Harassment as Armed Men Hunt for Opposition Officials

Growing International Concerns Over Zimbabwe Rights Situation

Huge Turnout Predicted as Zimbabweans Vote in Historic Election

Intimidation, Harassment Increase in Zimbabwe’s Rural Areas