April 15, 2024

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USAID Calls for Immediate Release of Detained Members of Zimbabwe Civil Society

The United States is deeply concerned about and condemns the actions of Zimbabwean authorities, who conducted a series of raids on August 23 as Zimbabweans voted in presidential, parliamentary, and local elections and arrested at least 39 individuals associated with the Election Resource Centre and the Zimbabwe Election Support Network. The raids targeted lawful, independent, and nonpartisan election observation operations.

Jessica Jennings, USAID Spokesperson, said in a statement: “We are gravely concerned for the safety and wellbeing of the individuals taken by the police. We call on the Government of Zimbabwe to urgently release all of these individuals, return their property, and allow the work of election observers to continue unobstructed.

These actions do not reflect the Government of Zimbabwe’s expressed commitment to free, fair, and transparent electoral processes. By harassing and detaining civil society actors, including election observers, the Government of Zimbabwe damages its reputation and international relations. These actions also contradict assurances by Zimbabwean authorities to international partners that non-governmental organizations would be allowed to observe the elections and issue independent findings. This is a worrying development for human rights in Zimbabwe, and it undermines democracy and respect for human rights. 

The United States also reiterates its commitment to the people of Zimbabwe as they seek to peacefully conclude the electoral process.

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