Press Release

Arbour calls for justice for victims of electoral violence in Zimbabwe

26 June 2008

GENEVA – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour on Thursday called for justice and accountability in response to the campaign of political violence that has corrupted the electoral process in Zimbabwe.

“Serious violations of human rights and the associated impunity attributed mainly to groups linked to the ruling ZANU PF and, in some cases, to the MDC party, are unacceptable and need to stop immediately. Victims and their relatives deserve justice. Those who perpetrate crimes must be held to account.”

Arbour described the ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe as a “perversion of democracy”, saying that respect of fundamental human rights and the rule of law are at the heart of any meaningful political and democratic process. Arbour added that international actors assisting Zimbabwe on the road back to sustainable peace, rule of law and stability should not overlook legitimate claims by victims for justice.

She welcomed the continuing regional and international efforts to resolve the crisis and urged mediation efforts to be guided by the necessity for justice and accountability, the essential first steps towards reconciliation. She reiterated the need for “wide ranging, participatory national consultations” in Zimbabwe to develop appropriate mechanisms to this end.