Freedom House Calls for Peaceful Referendum in Zimbabwe | Freedom House

Freedom House Calls for Peaceful Referendum in Zimbabwe

Washington

Freedom House calls on the Zimbabwean government to ensure a peaceful and transparent vote in the constitutional referendum on March 16. This will be the first national vote since Zimbabwe’s disputed 2008 presidential elections.

The electoral violence that surrounded 2008 elections left more than 200 people dead and led to the regionally-mediated Global Political Agreement (GPA), which created Zimbabwe’s current power-sharing government. The leading political parties pledged to carry out major reforms, including to pass a new constitution,
professionalize the security sector, de-politicize state institutions, and prevent future political violence. Aside from the constitution, these reforms have largely stalled.

“The constitutional referendum could be an important milestone on the road to democratic elections, but much more is needed,” said Daniel Calingaert, executive vice president at Freedom House. “The international community should remain cautious about Zimbabwe’s progress and demand that the government complete all legislative reforms before holding national elections later this year.”

Over the past four months several civil society organizations have been raided, files and equipment confiscated, and leaders arrested. Zimbabwe’s official election body confirmed Wednesday that it will prevent several human rights groups from monitoring the referendum. In addition, the government has banned radio sets that can pick up broadcasts from outside the country. This move will impede the ability of Zimbabweans to access independent news.

Zimbabwe is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2013, Freedom House’s annual global survey of political rights and civil liberties, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2012 and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2012.

To learn more about Zimbabwe, visit:

Freedom in the World 2012: Zimbabwe

Freedom on the Net 2012: Zimbabwe

Freedom of the Press 2012: Zimbabwe

Countries at the Crossroads 2012: Zimbabwe

Blog: Zimbabwe after Mugabe: An Interview with Karl Beck

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter (freedomhouse). Stay up to date with Freedom House’s latest news and events by signing up for our newsletter.