Amnesty exhibit urges immediate stop to Zim human rights abuses

A new multi format exhibition hosted by Amnesty International is set to build pressure on the Zimbabwean government to immediately put a stop to ongoing human rights abuses in the country.

The exhibit features images of torture victims and police beating protesters along with the words of human rights activists that Amnesty International hopes will inspire citizens across Africa to press their governments for action against Zimbabwe.


Celebrated South Africa human rights activist Albie Sachs opened the exhibit in Johannesburg on Tuesday, saying its strongest images weren’t the most gruesome. They were often taken by photographers risking arrest for portraying Zimbabwe in a bad light. He said the formal portraits of Zimbabweans like lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, renowned for her defense of opposition politicians, journalists and human rights campaigners, were stronger. Sachs said such portraits represent the spirit of what the people of the country can achieve despite all the difficulties.


The exhibition includes a video and a short play by a Zimbabwean street theater group that is set to be performed daily, depicting Zimbabweans declaring their refusal to live in constant fear. The portraits are accompanied by taped testimonials, such as one from trade union activist Lucia Gladys Matibenga, who described being beaten at a workers rights rally in 2006 – a beating that left her with a broken arm and a ruptured ear drum.


Amnesty International’s Simeon Mawanza told Newsreel on Wednesday that the exhibition is not only an appeal to Africa to stand in solidarity with Zimbabwe, but also for pressure to build on Zimbabwe’s government to force immediate change. He said the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe is very desperate,’ citing the ban on humanitarian food aid that left millions of Zimbabweans facing starvation.


Over the next month, the exhibition titled My Rights My Struggle’ is scheduled to travel to countries including Tanzania, whose president currently chairs the African Union; as well as Botswana and Senegal, whose governments have been unusually critical of Robert Mugabe. – SW Radio Africa News

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