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Zimbabwe Turmoil Hindering Gender Equality, Says Rights Group

A human rights group says the political crisis in Zimbabwe is hindering efforts for gender rights in the country.

Urgent Action Fund Africa says it’s monitoring developments in Zimbabwe. Betty Murungi is director of the organization. From Nairobi, she spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the effects of violence on human rights.

“When violence is unleased on citizens in the kind of way it has been unleashed on citizens of Zimbabwe, it always has a ripple effect. And we know that the situation of women’s rights in Zimbabwe has been deteriorating over the past few years. A lot is not being said about the women who were also assaulted. In fact the two most assaulted and most injured people after Morgan Tsvangirai were two women. One of them has very many bruises and broken bones and she’s broken her ribs. And I think this has not been given as much attention as it should be,” she says.

Murungi adds, “The implication for women’s human rights is always dire when violence rises in any community, not just in Zimbabwe.” Women in Zimbabwe have been lobbying for several years for a new law cracking down on domestic violence.

On solving the political crisis, she says, “One of the things that we are going to do as Africans is show solidarity with our Zimbabwean sisters. And I think that is important for Africans themselves to try and influence the situation, whether by making appeals to the government of Zimbabwe to respect the rights of its citizens or whether it is by creating awareness of the Zimbabwean situation in our own countries. And encouraging the African Union to itself intervene in that situation.”