Amnesty International On-line. back ai-index AFR 46/014/2000 08/06/2000 ZIMBABWE Terror tactics in the run-up to parliamentary elections, June 2000 Introduction Amnesty International has been gravely concerned at the persistent reports of widespread human rights abuses taking place in Zimbabwe since March 2000. As a reflection of this concern, Amnesty International sent delegates to the country to investigate these reports. Their preliminary findings are reflected in this briefing document. Amnesty International's delegates met with various government officials, some political parties, and sections of Zimbabwean civil society to discuss their findings and concerns as part of the organization's ongoing efforts to work with Zimbabweans towards making respect for human rights a reality in this country. Amnesty International has concluded from its inquiries that there is evidence that the Government of Zimbabwe is either instigating or acquiescing in serious violations of human rights including extrajudicial executions, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. There appears to be a deliberate and well–thought out plan of systematic human rights violations with a clear strategy, constituting state-sponsored terror in the run-up to the June elections. The issues of land reform and perceived racial inequalities, though of legitimate concern to most Zimbabweans, must not be seen as the root cause of the current politically-motivated violence. The politically-motivated violations of human rights that have occurred in Zimbabwe over the past three months--and the complete lack of accountability of those responsible for it--is both of immediate concern and of concern also against the background of a history of impunity in Zimbabwe. The serious violations and abuses of human rights during the war of independence from 1965 to 1980, especially by the government led by Ian Smith, were covered up by the blanket amnesty that accompanied independence. Zimbabwe was soon after gripped by the terror created by the Zimbabwe National Army 5th Brigade operations in Matabeleland that resulted in thousands of executions, "disappearances" and torture. These atrocities were themselves subject to an amnesty in 1988. This same pattern of impunity is evident in this recent wave of politically-motivated violence. The official flouting of key court rulings and threats against the

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