‘Mbeki must call off quiet diplomacy’ – Civic groups

JOHANNESBURG - South African human rights groups and political parties have condemned worsening human rights violations in Zimbabwe and called on president Thabo Mbeki's government to take a "principled position against repression in Zimbabwe".
The human rights groups and churches also urged

President Mbeki to halt his so-called “quiet diplomacy” towards Zimbabwe.
A one-day conference to commemorate Operation Murambatsvina was jointly coordinated last week by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR), South African Girl Child Alliance (SAGCA) and Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum (ZSF). South Africa’s ruling African National Congress Party, the South African Communist Party, the opposition Democratic Alliance party, South Africa Students Congress and several civic society groups from Zimbabwe attended the conference. Addressing the conference, CSVR official Richard Smith said it was time Mbeki called off his “quiet diplomacy” policy towards Harare and took more robust action to end repression in the troubled southern African country. “We condemn in strongest possible terms the new wave of repression that has been unleashed in Zimbabwe …. the arrest and torture of Zimbabwean students must not be allowed to go unchallenged,” he said. United States President George Bush and most Western leaders consider Mbeki the point-man on Zimbabwe but the South African President has frustrated human rights groups by refusing to publicly censure Mugabe saying “megaphone diplomacy” will not work and also insisting only Zimbabweans could solve their political problems. ANC official Xolisa Mawela told the conference that in future, organisers of such gatherings should ensure that the Harare authorities were also in attendance to defend themselves. “There is usually a danger of listening to one side of the story and I would like to propose that next time, we bring all the concerned parties so as to avoid some of the unfounded claims (of human rights violations),” said Mawela. – CAJ News

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