Freedom House condemns the serious flaws in Zimbabwe’s July 31 elections, notably the manipulation of voter rolls and widespread intimidation on the part of ZANU-PF, the party of longtime strongman Robert Mugabe. These elections can be considered neither free nor fair and the United States government, the Southern Africa Development Community, African Union, United Nations and democratic nations should denounce them as such.
Freedom House today launched the Egypt Democracy Compass, a monthly assessment of Egypt’s trajectory toward democracy in the wake of the July 3 military coup. The initial findings showed that, despite the military authorities’ pledge of a rapid transition to democracy, Egypt had suffered declines on six of the eight key indicators measured by the compass.
Côte d’Ivoire has yet to reckon with the crimes committed during the conflict that followed the November 2010 presidential election, in which 3,000 people were killed and over 150 women were raped. Although the country has taken some steps to pursue justice, they have been slow and largely ineffective.The unresolved issues from the postelection period have contributed to countrywide political polarization and reduced faith in both the government and the electoral process. If these crimes are not addressed, the country’s prospects of becoming a successful democracy will be in jeopardy.
The murder of Honduran Judge Mireya Efigenia Mendoza Pena is another tragic reminder of the serious violence affecting the country, as judges and other legal professionals face reprisals for their work. Mendoza is the 64th legal professional who has been killed in Honduras since 2010. Freedom House calls on the Honduran government to take the necessary measures to ensure judges are protected from threats, intimidation, aggression and other forms of violence, so as to ensure the integrity and independence of the judiciary.
Photo Caption: Nasser Shaikh leaves flowers at the grave of his brother, Khuram Shaikh.
On Christmas Eve 2011, Khuram Shaikh was murdered and his girlfriend, Victoria Tkacheva, was gang-raped while they were vacationing at a resort on the southernmost tip of Sri Lanka. Soon after, eight suspects, including Sampath Chandra Pushpa Vidanapathirana, a local political figure with ties to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, were arrested. Eleven months later, they were released on bail. One imagines the regime hoped that everyone would just forget about it and move on, and that is basically what happened. Of course, Khuram’s family, starting with his brother, Nasser, never forgot. But most everyone else did, and the story receded into the morass of terrible stories, in Sri Lanka and elsewhere.
Flaws in the process leading up to general elections in Zimbabwe call into question the elections’ credibility, according to Freedom House. Tomorrow, Zimbabwe will hold its first election since the violent 2008 elections that left more than 200 people dead and led to the signature of the Global Political Agreement, creating Zimbabwe’s power-sharing Government of National Unity.