Advocate for abolition of death penalty, political parties urged

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Amnesty International (AI) has challenged political parties contesting in the forthcoming elections to advocate for abolition of the death penalty and end forced disappearances of those perceived to be anti-regime.

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

Launching their manifesto for political parties yesterday titled Breaking Away From the Past: A Human Rights Manifesto for Zimbabwe’s Political Parties and Candidates, AI regional researcher for Southern African, Lloyd Kuveya said parties wishing to get the support of the ordinary person should fight to abolish death penalty, end forced evictions, end impunity for human rights violations by security forces, among other demands.

“Amnesty International urges all political parties and candidates to prioritise and commit to the following recommendation, and make a pledge to deliver these commitments if elected; undertake prompt, independent and impartial investigations of human rights violations, harassments and intimidations of activists,” Kuveya said.

The indaba was attended by most parties contesting the polls as well as civic groups among other stakeholders.

Kuveya said parties should pledge to end forced evictions, ensure freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly as well as comply with regional human rights treaties and ratify key human rights instruments.

“We urge all parties to prioritise enactment of legislation to prohibit child marriage in all circumstances, increase the budget allocation for health to a minimum of 15% in line with the Abuja Declaration, invite the UN (United Nations) special rapporteur on human rights defenders to visit Zimbabwe,” AI said.

Previously, elections were associated with killings, disappearances and arrests of opposition activists.