Zimbawe: Arnold Tsunga – Lawyer

Re: Arnold Tsunga – Lawyer

To: Mr. Robert G. Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, and others

From: Charles B. Davison, member of LRWC

Date: 2006-02-06

I am writing concerning the case of Arnold Tsunga, who is a well-known lawyer in your country and who is presently believed to be under threat of death at the hands of the Zimbabwe Military Intelligence Corps. I am writing as a member, and on behalf, of Lawyers Rights Watch Canada. Our organization is extremely concerned about any situation where lawyers or other persons who work for the protection and respect of human rights are themselves targeted, persecuted or imprisoned for peacefully exercising their freedoms and rights under international law.

Arnold Tsunga is Acting Secretary of the Law Society of Zimbabwe and is also Executive Director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. Furthermore, he is chairperson of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association and is a trustee of the radio station Voice of the People. Various police officers and military officials attempted to locate Mr. Tsunga on various dates in January and he ultimately presented himself at a police station, where he was processed and taken to court. He and other persons in a similar situation were released on bail. On January 26 a member of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association was told by a soldier that the Military Intelligence Corps had been given orders to find Arnold Tsunga and to kill him.

We are alarmed that a man whose aim has been to secure the rights and liberties of his fellow citizens is now being targeted by your government as a result. As you know, virtually every international human rights convention, treaty and agreement includes among its terms the right and freedom of all persons to their own beliefs, opinions and expression, and those who seek to protect those rights of other persons should not be persecuted or killed for their work. In fact, the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders specifically aims to protect persons such as Mr. Tsunga as they carry out their vital work for democracy and freedom in all countries and under all forms of government.

We call upon you to take all necessary steps to ensure that Arnold Tsunga is not harmed in any way. We further call for an independent and impartial investigation into the reports that he has been targeted to be killed by military personnel and that appropriate punitive steps be taken against any and all those found to be behind this order.