Arnold Tsunga – Zimbabwe

Linked with human rights first, with Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions ZCTU, and with Appearance of ZCTU human rights defenders in Harare Court. And also with Akbar Ganji – Iran.

He is the Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Humn Rights, and a radio commentator, and a laureat 2006 for the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, which he received on october 11, 2006, in Geneva, by Louise Arbor, UN High Commissioner for Humans Rights, given by the Martin Ennals Foundation during a ceremony at the Bâtiment des Forces Motrices in Geneva (Switzerland), within framework of the International North South Media Festival. (See on

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Arnold Tsunga – Zimbabwe

In December 2005, Zimbabwean police raided the Voice of the People office and confiscated equipment and documents in an attempt to put the station out of business. Under Zimbabwe’s repressive Broadcasting Services Act, six trustees of the station have been charged with broadcasting without a license. If convicted, they could face two years in prison. Among the trustees arrested was Arnold Tsunga, who is also chairman of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association, or ZimRights.

In a written statement, the international human rights group Amnesty International said, “ZimRights was approached by a soldier of the Zimbabwean army who told them that the military intelligence corps had been given orders to find Arnold Tsunga and kill him.” (Read all on

Evictions and Demolitions 09 June 2005 – Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights ZLHR petitions the African Commission: See letter to the African Commission Special Rapportuer on Torture and Other forms of Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment crimes: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) went and met the people in Mbare high density surbubs staying in the open who were affected by operation murambatsvina and settled in the open spaces at Mbare. The people were facing further threats of forcible ejectment resulting in them contacting ZLHR for help. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights met the people to explain the court order they were seeking their behalf. The pictures (on taken by our Communications Officer , Mr Tinashe Mundawarara show the ZLHR Director Mr Arnold Tsunga and Mr Otto Saki a project lawyer for Human Rights Defenders and International Litigation with ZLHR explaining the contents of the court papers to the residence of Mbare who were affected by the operation. (Read all, and see also all the photos on Zimbabwe lawyers for human rights).

Tsunga, who has received death threats for the work he does to give a voice to the voiceless and the oppressed in Zimbabwe. Despite the threats he has remained steadfast, preferring to continue his work in the country. The Chairman of the Jury of the MEA, Hans Thoolen, described the laureates as “symbols of the human rights movement in their respective countries, where standing up for human rights and democracy is a dangerous activity; they continue to be involved in this struggle despite repressive measures and harassment”. (See Assoc. of Zimbabwe Journalists).

The Chairman of the Jury of the MEA, Mr. Hans Thoolen, described the laureates as “symbols of the human rights movement in their respective countries, where standing up for human rights and democracy is a dangerous activity; they continue to be involved in this struggle despite repressive measures and harassment”. Mr. Arnold Tsunga is the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) and trustee of the radio station Voice of the People (VOP), he is one of the leading human rights lawyers in Zimbabwe. In recognition of his legal work on human rights and strong reputation in his field, he became the new director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) in early 2003. Despite great personal risk, Mr. Arnold Tsunga has been representing individuals arrested under new, repressive legislation, including individuals who have been physically abused in custody. For representing these victims of human rights violations and denouncing the legal system and the human rights situation, he is constantly harassed and threatened. He was arrested several times and recently released on bail. His courage and work are internationally recognized: last June he was requested to speak out on behalf of human rights organizations at the first session of the new United Nation Human Rights Council in Geneva. (Read on OMCT Organisation Mondiale contre la Torture / World Organization against Torture).

According to the information received, on September 25, 2006, a hearing against VOP trustees Messrs. David Masunda, Nhlanhla Ngwenya, Lawrence Chibwe, Millicent Phiri, Arnold Tsunga, John Masuku and Mrs. Isabella Matambanadzo resumed before the Harare Magistrate’s Court. They were being accused of contravening section 7(1) of the Broadcasting Services Act Chapter 12:06 as read with Section 6 (a) (b), which prohibits “broadcasting without a licence”. Mrs. Maria Nyanyiwa, Mrs. Nyasha Bosha and Mrs. Kundai Mugwanda, journalists with VOP, were also facing similar charges. The three of them had been held for four days in December 2005 after the police searched the radio studios in the centre of the capital. They all had been released on bail (See background information). (Read all on OMCT).

“We are quite thrilled,” Arnold Tsunga, a VOP trustee who is also director of the Zimbabwean Lawyers for Human Rights, told CPJ. But he said there was a risk that the state might now try to press charges against VOP as a legal entity, rather than against the individuals. The prosecutor had asked for another postponement in order to pursue this possibility, Mtetwa confirmed. “This is not a prosecution, this is a persecution,” said Mtetwa, who received an International Press Freedom Award from CPJ in 2005. (Read all on Committee to Protect Journalists CPJ).


Zimbabwe: Court Denies Government’s Bid to Further Postpone Trial of Radio Station’s Directors.;

human rights education association hrea/homepage, and its hrea/database;

Amnesty International;


protection online;


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