[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Friday urged [press release] Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to address human rights concerns in Zimbabwe and other parts of the African continent. AI wants Mugabe to utilize his position of Chairperson of the African Union (AU) [official website] to stabilize areas that have been characterized by recent conflict that has displaced millions of people. Netsanet Belay, AI’s Africa Director for Research and Advocacy, stated, “[t]here is an urgent need for the AU to take more concrete steps to effectively address the massive human rights violations resulting from the many conflicts taking place in several parts of the continent.” Mugabe will hold his position of Chairperson of the AU for at least the next year.
AI contends that may countries in Africa, including Angola, Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia and Zimbabwe, have been denying their citizens fundamental human rights. Rights groups criticized Ethiopia of unlawfully restricting media ahead of the country’s upcoming elections, and charging journalists with terrorism [JURIST reports] in order to limit journalism that might be critical of the country’s government. In November UN officials expressed concern [JURIST report] over the rights of human rights activists in Burundi. In June the UN Human Rights Council [official website] adopted a resolution [JURIST report] establishing a commission of inquiry to investigate alleged human rights abuses in Eritrea. In 2013 the South Africa high court held [JURIST report] that authorities must investigate Zimbabwe crimes against humanity.