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Farai Maguwu

05 Jun

Risha, a cyberspace friend, and a writer with friends among many peace and conflict resolution specialists throughout the world, would like our help.

She writes:

This is a difficult post to write, but I do hope you’ll bear with me and read it through to the end. I need your help, you see. This is rather important to me and I’d like to state that upfront.

Some of you may know that my second degree is in Peace and Conflict Studies. That I spent that time surrounded by some truly phenomenal peaceworkers from across the world. These were committed, strong, brave and wonderful activists who have seen some of the worst atrocities possible. And they have come out believing with their entire being in the importance of a peace process, of a just society and with a complete abhorrence of violence and conflict. They came out with a fierce determination to end human rights abuses, hold governments accountable, hold citizens accountable- be accountable themselves. Certain that they would contribute towards a better future and a better, more just and definitely more sustainable and peaceful societies for themselves and the world.

I have been awed, humbled and completely dumbstruck by their commitment, their unwavering faith and their sense of purpose. I have been fortunate indeed to meet such wonderfully inspiring people. They’re part of the extended family I have scattered around the world. People to guide me when I’m a little disillusioned, a little lost and more than a little frustrated by the lack of progress I see everyday. People to remember and be inspired by.

I’ve had to hear the stories of their struggles and I’ve had to hear how they did not blink in the face of constant danger. They stared it in the eye and they refused to blink. I’ve worried about the people whose outspoken words and temerity to question has landed them into hot water with despotic regimes and autocratic governments. My heart has skipped beats every time there’s a new coup or a civil war or an escalation in hostilities. There is always someone to think of with fondness and with worry.

The personal is political.

And sometimes that means terrible things.

Farai Maguwu is one of those people. He was working in Zimbabwe as the Director of the Centre for Research and Development. He was researching and reporting on human rights abuses around the diamond trade, amongst other things. A truly charismatic and wonderful individual, he was someone we all said would change the world.

He was trying. Reports say that he was arrested by the Zimbabwean police and is currently in custody after turning himself in. It is believed that this was a set up due to a report he was compiling around diamond smuggling. He was due to present it in Israel later this year, as part of the Kimberley Process which is the international watchdog over conflict diamonds. The High Court supports the findings in his report.

Initially, when Farai could not be located; they arrested his nephew Lisbern. Lisben’s lawyer went into hiding after being harassed by the authorities.You can read the google alerts about this here.

We’re all extremely concerned for his welfare and indeed, his life. I don’t have to narrate the horror stories about outspoken activists that come out of countries like Zimbabwe with a track record of human rights abuses. There isn’t a lot that can be done from halfway across the world, but I hope that you will perhaps take one of the following actions (if not all!):

Please write to your government representatives- senators, congresspersons, secretaries of foreign affairs departments.. whoever- and advise them of this; urging them to act. If you’re able to draft a letter that also outlines/reiterates the many human rights abuses that the Zimbabwean government has continually foisted upon its citizens, that would also help. If you’re not quite certain, I could draft one that is country-specific; looking at the relations between your government and the Zimbabwean one. E-mail me on risha.rao [at] gmail.com and please do CC me if you send it out.
Please send letters condemning Farai’s arrest, the consistent human rights abuses and the complete disregard of signed human rights frameworks and declarations to the following address:
His Excellency Morgan Richard Tsvangirai
Prime Minister,
The Office of the Prime Minister
Private Bag 7700, Causeway
Harare, Zimbabwe.
Do let me know if you send one.
Post this/link this or the news reports on your facebook/twitter/blogs/list-servs/anything you can think of. Raising awareness of the atrocities committed daily, is just as important as taking action against it.
I’ll be drafting a generic letter shortly. I’ll be glad to send it to you, if you’d like to sign your name on it- please e-mail me on risha.rao[attherateof]gmail.com. It’s not nearly as effective as sending in context-specific letters to specific governments; but it does work. You can also just print the generic letter and send it to the Zimbabwean government. In addition, you can edit the addressee and send it to your government representatives as well.
You can also send all/any one of the relevant letters to the Zimbabwean embassy (if any).
The letters can also be sent to international organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch; amongst others. In addition, do send them to your regional union such as the European Union, African Union, ASEAN etc.
If you can think of something else that can be done: tell us!
If you do take any actions or are able to glean more information; please do let me know. I’d just like to keep a record of this, and monitor it, in case information is ever required/needs confirmation.

Thank you for your time.This is a difficult post to write, but I do hope you’ll bear with me and read it through to the end. I need your help, you see. This is rather important to me and I’d like to state that upfront.

Some of you may know that my second degree is in Peace and Conflict Studies. That I spent that time surrounded by some truly phenomenal peaceworkers from across the world. These were committed, strong, brave and wonderful activists who have seen some of the worst atrocities possible. And they have come out believing with their entire being in the importance of a peace process, of a just society and with a complete abhorrence of violence and conflict. They came out with a fierce determination to end human rights abuses, hold governments accountable, hold citizens accountable- be accountable themselves. Certain that they would contribute towards a better future and a better, more just and definitely more sustainable and peaceful societies for themselves and the world.

I have been awed, humbled and completely dumbstruck by their commitment, their unwavering faith and their sense of purpose. I have been fortunate indeed to meet such wonderfully inspiring people. They’re part of the extended family I have scattered around the world. People to guide me when I’m a little disillusioned, a little lost and more than a little frustrated by the lack of progress I see everyday. People to remember and be inspired by.

I’ve had to hear the stories of their struggles and I’ve had to hear how they did not blink in the face of constant danger. They stared it in the eye and they refused to blink. I’ve worried about the people whose outspoken words and temerity to question has landed them into hot water with despotic regimes and autocratic governments. My heart has skipped beats every time there’s a new coup or a civil war or an escalation in hostilities. There is always someone to think of with fondness and with worry.

The personal is political.

And sometimes that means terrible things.

Farai Maguwu is one of those people. He was working in Zimbabwe as the Director of the Centre for Research and Development. He was researching and reporting on human rights abuses around the diamond trade, amongst other things. A truly charismatic and wonderful individual, he was someone we all said would change the world.

He was trying. Reports say that he was arrested by the Zimbabwean police and is currently in custody after turning himself in. It is believed that this was a set up due to a report he was compiling around diamond smuggling. He was due to present it in Israel later this year, as part of the Kimberley Process which is the international watchdog over conflict diamonds. The High Court supports the findings in his report.

Initially, when Farai could not be located; they arrested his nephew Lisbern. Lisben’s lawyer went into hiding after being harassed by the authorities.You can read the google alerts about this here.

We’re all extremely concerned for his welfare and indeed, his life. I don’t have to narrate the horror stories about outspoken activists that come out of countries like Zimbabwe with a track record of human rights abuses. There isn’t a lot that can be done from halfway across the world, but I hope that you will perhaps take one of the following actions (if not all!):

Please write to your government representatives- senators, congresspersons, secretaries of foreign affairs departments.. whoever- and advise them of this; urging them to act. If you’re able to draft a letter that also outlines/reiterates the many human rights abuses that the Zimbabwean government has continually foisted upon its citizens, that would also help. If you’re not quite certain, I could draft one that is country-specific; looking at the relations between your government and the Zimbabwean one. E-mail me on risha.rao [at] gmail.com and please do CC me if you send it out.
Please send letters condemning Farai’s arrest, the consistent human rights abuses and the complete disregard of signed human rights frameworks and declarations to the following address:
His Excellency Morgan Richard Tsvangirai
Prime Minister,
The Office of the Prime Minister
Private Bag 7700, Causeway
Harare, Zimbabwe.
Do let me know if you send one.
Post this/link this or the news reports on your facebook/twitter/blogs/list-servs/anything you can think of. Raising awareness of the atrocities committed daily, is just as important as taking action against it.
I’ll be drafting a generic letter shortly. I’ll be glad to send it to you, if you’d like to sign your name on it- please e-mail me on risha.rao[attherateof]gmail.com. It’s not nearly as effective as sending in context-specific letters to specific governments; but it does work. You can also just print the generic letter and send it to the Zimbabwean government. In addition, you can edit the addressee and send it to your government representatives as well.
You can also send all/any one of the relevant letters to the Zimbabwean embassy (if any).
The letters can also be sent to international organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch; amongst others. In addition, do send them to your regional union such as the European Union, African Union, ASEAN etc.
If you can think of something else that can be done: tell us!
If you do take any actions or are able to glean more information; please do let me know. I’d just like to keep a record of this, and monitor it, in case information is ever required/needs confirmation.

Thank you for your time.

A new blog set up to keep tabs on this as linked to in the post. What You Can Do

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1 Comment

Posted by on June 5, 2010 in Africa, Blogs, human rights

 

Tags: , ,

One response to “Farai Maguwu

  1. risha;

    June 6, 2010 at 1:10 am

    Thanks a tonne, Cooper! xx

     

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