Background Briefing

III. Conclusion

The political and human rights crisis in Zimbabwe requires urgent and effective leadership at the regional level. Human Rights Watch has been encouraged by the contribution that SADC Heads of State and Government have made in addressing the crisis in Zimbabwe. However, SADC Heads of State and Government now need to take the next step and address the concerns highlighted in this paper. Failing that, prospects for a peaceful and democratic Zimbabwe will remain elusive.

The implementation of the recommendations detailed in this paper, within a clear time-frame to be established by SADC, is key to reestablishing respect for human rights and the rule of law, and to ending impunity in Zimbabwe. The implementation of these recommendations will also support South Africa’s political mediation efforts.

Human Rights Watch therefore reiterates its call to the assembled SADC Heads of State and Government to send a strong message from their meeting: the Zimbabwean government should cease violating human rights with impunity, and SADC must exert more sustained political pressure and follow the situation more closely on the ground through a team of independent human rights monitors. Only in this way can SADC hope to nurture a political and economic revival in Zimbabwe.