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Carter Center Calls for Release of Zimbabwe Human Rights Activists

Contact: Deanna Congileo

ATLANTA….The Carter Center calls on local authorities and the Government of Zimbabwe to immediately release Jestina Mukoko, Broderick Takawira, and Pascal Gonzo – human rights activists and leaders of the Zimbabwe Peace Project.  Mukoko was abducted from her home in Norton, Harare in the early hours of Dec. 3.  It has been more than a week since her detention, and her family, friends, and colleagues have not heard from Jestina.  On Dec. 8, 2008, Takawira and Gonzo were abducted from ZPP Headquarters in Harare. Their families and lawyers also have been unable to find any information about their location.  This latest round of abductions appears to be a deliberate targeting of an organization working for peace.

"The arrest of Jestina Mukoko and her colleagues is a troubling sign of continuing crackdown on human rights defenders and civil society in Zimbabwe by the Mugabe regime.  The Government of Zimbabwe must guarantee the safety of these individuals and immediately release them from extrajudicial detention" said John Stremlau, vice president of Peace Programs at The Carter Center.

At least 12 armed men in plain clothes, who identified themselves as police from the Law and Order section of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, reportedly stormed Jestina Mukoko's house, forcing her into one of  two unlicensed cars.  Her son, who witnessed the kidnapping, informed the lawyers, who have been unable to locate her. 

Mukoko, Takawira, and Gonzo are leaders of the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), a human rights organization that has been monitoring and documenting human rights violations in Zimbabwe.


"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."

A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers in developing nations to increase crop production. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. Please visit to learn more about The Carter Center.

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