Tag Archives: Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe News | Political Dissidents

Police violently break up protest against Mugabe government in Harare as anger swells
  • Peaceful protesters and journalists were attacked with batons during a demonstration against President Robert Mugabe’s handling of the economy in Zimbabwe.
  • Protesters have been rallying against the government’s economic policies, with ire having ballooned over proposals to introduce local bank notes into the economy.
  • Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party also expelled nine senior leaders, including four war veterans linked to a statement denouncing him.

Read more:
Zimbabwe police use batons to break up anti-government protest” (Reuters)
Zimbabwe police violently break up anti-Mugabe protests” (Al Jazeera)
Zimbabwe’s Mugabe faces rising tide of protest” (AP via News24)

(Image Credit: Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters)

Zimbabwe News | Political Dissidents

Largest protests in years bubble up in Zimbabwe as anger over economy grows
  • Protests against government corruption, unpaid salaries, and a generally failing economy led to a general strike and street protests, prompting a government response that included violent attacks on and intimidation of citizens.
  • A prominent religious leader who called for the strike was arrested then released on technicality after having been charged with inciting public violence and later with conspiring to overthrow the government.
  • The protests have been the largest challenge in a decade to the rule of President Robert Mugabe, who has held power in the country since its independence from Britain in 1980.

Read more:
Zimbabweans suffer ‘savage’ police abuse as anti-Mugabe movement grows” (Reuters)
Zimbabwe shutdown: What is behind the protests?” (BBC)
Zimbabwe Court Frees Pastor Detained Over Protests Against Mugabe” (The New York Times)

(Image Credit: Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters)

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia

Commemorating the day when homosexuality was de-pathologized by the World Health Organization in 1990, the 13th-annual International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia (IDAHOT) stands as an occasion for global mobilization towards LGBT visibility and security. The day, like many global celebrations, is also one many governments choose to speak out on global human rights and minority security, announcing initiatives to support their LGBT citizens and international projects.

Even today, ongoing disagreements between nations over LGBT rights have prompted diplomatic rows and roadblocks to international cooperation, including the recent objection of 51 Muslim countries to the participation of LGBT groups in a U.N. AIDS forum in June. The push to extinguish homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia at all geographic levels remains important to the global mobility of LGBT people worldwide.

Here are highlights from IDAHOT 2016:

Africa & the Middle East


Video Credit: Collectif Arc-en-Ciel

LGBT Nigerians have continued wrestling with conflicting legal messages, with the recent passage of the landmark HIV Anti-Discrimination Act doing little to undo the effects of a 2014 anti-homosexuality law.

While a moratorium on LGBT criminalization is officially in place in Malawi, individuals are subject to entrenched marginalization and stigmatization in healthcare services, with a national referendum on LGBT rights having stalled.

The Gay and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) organized events for IDAHOT in Bulawayo, focusing on mental health as ongoing social and healthcare difficulties plague the community.

Though homosexuality remains criminalized in Tunisia, activists have achieved increased visibility and pushed for legal reform amidst ongoing discrimination.

Israel reaffirmed its commitment to LGBT Israelis, announcing funding to support an emergency shelter for LGBT youth and a hostel for trans people who have recently undergone gender confirmation surgery.

Days before IDAHOT, activists staged a sit-in outside of a Beirut gendarmerie, protesting Lebanon‘s anti-homosexuality legal holdovers from French occupation.  Similarly, the Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health (LebMASH) issued an appeal to the Lebanese government to decriminalize same-sex relations, arguing for recognition of homosexuality’s presence within the natural variation of human sexuality.

The Americas


Video Credit: teleSUR

U.S. President Barack Obama released a statement of support as his administration lended its voice to a national debate over the bathroom rights of trans people.

In Canada, PM Justin Trudeau announced an anti-discrimination bill protecting trans security as advocates organized a demonstration for trans healthcare rights following the firebombing of a trans health clinic.

Across Latin America, important gains in same-sex partnership and family rights and gender identity healthcare and legal protections have heartened LGBT Latin Americans, but the region continues to have some of the highest reported rates of violence against the LGBT community in the world.

LGBT organizations held cultural and political events throughout Argentina to highlight conditions facing the Argentine LGBT community, call for an anti-discrimination law, and press for federal recognition of the International Day Against Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination, as the day is known.

Cuba celebrated the day fresh off Pride events in Havana, where Mariela Castro, daughter of President Raúl Castro, led a parade of thousands through the city streets.

Asia Pacific


Video Credit: Out for Australia

As the country continues contentious battles including the push for marriage equality and erasure of “gay panic” legal defenses, rainbow flags and celebrations appeared across Australia, including over police stations in Canberra, in the streets of Brisbane, and in the senior-care facilities of Tasmania. In Victoria, officials announced a retreat for Aboriginal gender minorities to be held later in the year.

In China, a study conducted by the U.N. Development Programme, Peking University, and the Beijing LGBT Center, the largest of its kind to date, was released revealing that only 5% of LGBTI Chinese are fully out at school and work, but also showed encouraging levels of acceptance of LGBTI people among China’s youth. The head of Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunities Commission expressed support for anti-discrimination legislation at IDAHOT festivities in the city.

In Fiji, former President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau joined festivities at the French Ambassador’s residence to celebrate the island’s LGBTQI community.

Advocates took to op-ed columns in India to confront ongoing transphobia, reflect on gay representation in film, and highlight everyday homophobia in urban life.

A tug-of-war over LGBT rights between Islamic fundamentalists and pro-diversity moderates in Indonesia has led to mixed messages about LGBT security in the nation, spurring anti-discrimination protests.

A recent Human Rights Watch report on anti-LGBT bullying in Japan served as a reminder of the purpose of the day, highlighting rampant anti-LGBT sentiment even as the government has initiated broad efforts to combat bullying in schools.

Europe & Eurasia


Video Credit: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

The divergent prospects for LGBTI people across Europe, from Western Europe’s distinctive commitment to the protection of gender diversity to ongoing persecution in the East, was further confirmed through a UNESCO report highlighting anti-LGBT violence in schools released as global education ministers met in Paris.

Rainbow colors appeared in the shopping district of Cyprus‘s capital as 22 organizations came together to organize events to launch the country’s third Pride Festival, focusing on the need to increase legal recognition of both sexual and gender minorities in the country.

In Gibraltar, organizers canceled event plans in support of action on marriage equality legislation currently under consideration, arguing that holding a rally in front of the Parliament as uncertainty prevails would undermine pressure on MPs.

Kosovo‘s first Pride march brought out hundreds from the LGBT community to Pristina, including the U.S. and U.K. ambassadors.

Organizations in Luxembourg planned a silent march to call attention to the plight of LGBTI individuals worldwide and call for increased international protections (including asylum).

Organizers in Serbia took the day to announce the date of this year’s Pride parade (September 18) and address concerns of homophobia as right-wing parliamentary representation has increased.

Advocates, allies, and diplomats gathered around the rainbow flag raised at the US Embassy in Latvia.

On the island of Gozo in Malta, NGO leaders celebrated gender diversity in the country.

After advocates scrapped plans for IDAHOT activities in Georgia due to security concerns, a group of activists were arrested for painting pro-LGBT graffiti on administrative buildings. A “Family Day” protest against LGBT rights and visibility, the third such anti-LGBT demonstration, brought together members of Georgia’s conservative Orthodox community and international religious groups.

In the U.K., London’s new mayor promised to make the city a more just place for its LGBT residents as a rainbow flag flew over the Mayor’s Office.

(Image Credit: EPA, via The Straits Times)

Zimbabwe News | Black & White

Zimbabwe looks to black farmers to provide reparations to displaced white farmers
  • As the Zimbabwean government struggles to keep its economy afloat, it has toyed with shifting the burden of reparation to black farmers, who lease land from the government, through a compensation fund created through their rent payments.
  • White farmers were displaced as a part of a contentious indigenization program that saw massive land redistribution beginning in 2000, promoted as a corrective to the expropriation of land from black families under colonialism.
  • More than 6,000 farms remain for reparation assessment, with only 240 white farmers having begun to receive payment.

Read more:
We can’t pay: Zimbabwe farmers resist compensating evicted white landowners” (Reuters)
Zimbabwe May Ask Black Farmers to Help Repay Ousted Whites” (Bloomberg)
Zimbabwe begins talks to compensate evicted white farmers” (AfricaNews)

(Image Credit: via AfricaNews)

Zimbabwe News | Black, White & Foreigners

Deadline for Zimbabwe’s controversial corporate indigenization plan passes
  • President Robert Mugabe has pushed a contentious plan to have all companies operating in Zimbabwe—including major multinational corporations—comply with a 2008 law to transfer majority shares to black Zimbabweans to “indigenize” their local firms.
  • The plan was conceived as a corrective to colonial-era economic exclusion and is a follow-up to the ongoing land reform program that has transferred farm ownership from white to black Zimbabweans.
  • It is unclear how many companies, faced with the revocation of their operating licenses, have complied to date, and many concerned that the program discourages foreign direct investment.

Read more:
Zimbabwe deadline for firms to be black-owned passes” (BBC)
Zimbabwe says foreign banks, miners fail to comply on selling stakes to locals” (Reuters)
Zimbabwe: Diamond firms comply with indigenization law” (Deutsche Welle)

Kuwait News | Zimbabwean Women

As many as 200 Zimbabwean women caught up in Kuwaiti human trafficking scam
  • The women were lured to Kuwait under the pretense of domestic and healthcare employment but found themselves subjected to terrifying work conditions including starvation, violence, and false imprisonment.
  • While 15 of the women have been repatriated, at least 150 remain in Kuwait, caught up in a process that has seen a former Kuwaiti ambassador to Zimbabwe charged with human trafficking.
  • Many Zimbabweans, facing an unfavorable labor market at home, have taken to working abroad, with some having become trapped in employment and scholarship scams by human traffickers.

Read more:
Zimbabwe: Former Kuwaiti diplomat trafficked 200 women” (International Business Times)
Zim govt brings back 15 women trafficked to Kuwait – ministry” (News24)
15 Zimbabwe women home after Kuwait trafficking scam” (Eyewitness News)

Zimbabwe News | Workers

Police break up worker protest following Supreme Court ruling in Zimbabwe
  • The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions had been planning to lead a demonstration in Harare before police arrived to disperse the crowd.
  • Plans for the demonstration emerged following the Supreme Court’s ruling that employers could terminate contracts on notice, which has reportedly led to significant job losses.
  • Smaller demonstrations moved forward in Gweru, Mutare, and other cities.

“The leaders (of the demonstrations) were taken and thrown all over Harare but that is not a solution. Government must know that they are creating a time bomb. We have 2018 that is coming and several issues that must be addressed.”

Read the full story at The Standard.