News

AIDS Activists say Mugabe Party Engaged in Rape in 2008 Zimbabwe Campaign

Aids Free World, a non-governmental organization led by a former U.N. special envoy, says supporters of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party engaged in the systematic violent rape of women who supported the opposition in the widely discredited second-round presidential poll in 2008.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (file)
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (file)
Delia Robertson

Aids Free World, a non-governmental organization led by a former U.N. special envoy, says supporters of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party engaged in the systematic violent rape of women who supported the opposition in the widely discredited second-round presidential poll in 2008. 

The report by Stephen Lewis' Aids Free World is based on the testimonies of 70 women drawn from each of Zimbabwe's 10 provinces.  Each gave harrowing accounts of beatings, rape, gang-rape, repeat rapes, and vandalism. 

One victim of both a gang-rape and repeat rapes who now lives in South Africa told reporters she has two reminders of her attacks.  She preferred to remain anonymous.

"After the rapes I started having some colds, fever until I was tested and I was positive," she said. "Most my time spend my time I spend my time crying and thinking of what happened to me.  As a result I have something in my hand that I will not forget that event, because I have got a result, I have got a baby."

Lewis says the HIV positive woman and the others who gave their testimony to researcher represent many others.

"Aids Free World has assembled through affidavits taken from women in every province of Zimbabwe what we believe to be unassailable evidence of rape and torture and savagery visited on 70 women who stand for countless others, sexually terrorized by ZANU-PF for the sole purpose of retaining power," said Stephen Lewis.

Lewis was speaking at a media briefing in Johannesburg to launch the report.  He called for South Africa and other African countries to act urgently to ensure that President Robert Mugabe is no longer president of Zimbabwe when he turns 86 next February.

The report covers similar ground to earlier reports of election-related violence and rape in Zimbabwe in 2008.  Humanitarian organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch also found that most of the abuses that occurred before the widely discredited runoff presidential poll was perpetrated by individuals and groups who supported Mr. Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party.

Respected Zimbabwean writer and human-rights activist Elinor Sisulu told reporters it is essential that concrete steps be taken to prevent similar abuses before another election is held in Zimbabwe.

"This should be prevented, there should not be another election in Zimbabwe unless these issues are addressed, and unless there is some level of addressing the impunity and some level of accountability of the part of the perpetrators," said Elinor Sisulu. "And I am not even necessarily talking about prosecutions, but if there is some kind of system whereby the perpetrators have to account and that there is some demobilization of that machinery."

But Lewis argues the rapes were so systematic and widespread they fall within the definition of crimes against humanity and should be prosecuted as such.  
 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs