In Zimbabwe during 2015, “the most important human rights problems remained the government’s targeting members of non-ZANU-PF parties and civil society activists for abduction, arrest, torture, abuse, and harassment; partisan application of the rule of law by security forces and the judiciary; and restrictions on civil liberties.”These are the findings of the U.S. Department of State in its recently-released country report on human rights practices around the world.
The report notes that Zimbabwe had many other human rights problems. Prison conditions were harsh. The government’s expropriation of private property continued. Executive political influence and interference in the judiciary continued, and the government infringed on citizens’ privacy rights.
The government generally failed to investigate or prosecute state security or ZANU-PF supporters responsible for violence. Authorities restricted freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, and movement. The government continued to evict citizens; invade farms, private businesses and properties; and demolish informal marketplaces and settlements.
The government also arrested, detained, prosecuted, and harassed nongovernmental organization members. Government corruption remained widespread, including at the local level.
Violence and discrimination against women; child abuse; trafficking of men, women, and children; and discrimination against persons with disabilities, racial and ethnic minorities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex persons, and persons with HIV/AIDS were problems in Zimbabwe. The government there interfered with labor-related events.
Zimbabwe’s government took limited steps to punish security sector officials and ZANU-PF supporters who committed violations, but impunity continued to be a problem.
“In the arena of human rights, every government has the ability to improve, including the United States,” said Secretary of State John Kerry. He noted that the contents of the 2015 report “renew our commitment to promoting and protecting universal human rights, to supporting and defending civil society in its peaceful efforts to hold governments accountable, and to working with our partners to advance peace, development, human rights, and democracy.”