[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official bio] on Thursday called on [press release] the new national government of Zimbabwe [JURIST archive] to reinstate the rule of law and to release all political prisoners who remain in custody illegally. Pillay's statements condemned the gross human rights violations which have allegedly occurred within Zimbabwe, and encouraged the new government to take immediate action:
It is vital that international attention is focused on preventing future violations in the country by ensuring that human rights defenders and independent media are able to carry out their work without being harmed, arrested or harassed...I call for the immediate release of all those people currently still being held in unlawful custody.Pillay went on to place "primary responsibility" on the new government to ensure justice for all victims of human rights violations, reminding Zimbabweans that, "All eyes will be on this new government to see if they can undo that damage."
Zimbabwe formally launched its new government Wednesday with the installation of opposition party leader Morgan Tsvangirai [JURIST news archive] as the new prime minister. Tsvangirai himself was a former political prisoner of President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile, JURIST news archive]. The rivals will seek to co-govern Zimbabwe through a new governmental structure created by a power-sharing agreement [Harare Tribune text; JURIST report] brokered after a violently-contested election [JURIST news archive] last March. Tsvangirai has stated [BBC report] that he wishes for all political prisoners to be freed expeditiously.