Zimbabwe Election : United Nations says is concerned of voter intimidation

The UN Human Rights office says it is concerned at the increasing number of reports of voter intimidation, threats of violence and harassment ahead of Monday’s elections in Zimbabwe.

A statement issued below

We welcome the widening of the democratic space in Zimbabwe ahead of the 30 July presidential elections, and call on the Government, all political parties and other institutions to ensure that the elections are held in an environment which is peaceful and where human rights and the rule of law are fully respected.

It is encouraging to see open political rallies and peaceful demonstrations being held in Harare, as well as the many expressions of cautious optimism from civil society. The presence of some international human rights organisations, in addition to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the Zimbabwe Gender Commission to monitor the human rights environment around the upcoming national elections is also a welcome sign.

We remain concerned however at the increasing number of reports, particularly in some rural areas, of voter intimidation, threats of violence, harassment and coercion, including people being forced to attend political rallies. There has also been the worrying use of disparaging language against female political candidates. We call on the authorities – and political parties and their supporters – to ensure that the elections are not marred by such acts so that all Zimbabweans can participate free from fear in a credible election process.

To this end, we note the signing of the Peace Pledge by the political parties on 26 June, under the auspices of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission. We welcome their commitment to promote a climate of peace and tolerance, accept the results of elections, or challenge the results through the due process of law, refrain from inducing fear in citizens, campaign against all forms of violence and intimidation and resolve disputes through dialogue.

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