Published: 18/02/2011

The IUF and Amnesty International have teamed up for action on International Women’s Day 2011 to highlight the situation of Zimbabwe farmworkers and the exiled leader of their union, Gertrude Hambira. Members and officers of the General Agricultural and Plantation Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) have suffered continual intimidation, harassment and violence by Zimbabwe police, ruling party thugs and ‘war veterans’ because of their work defending the rights of farmworkers.

Since 2000, tens of thousands of farm workers have been targeted for violence, and many have been forcibly evicted from commercial farms, losing their homes and livelihoods.

GAPWUZ secretary general Gertrude Hambira was forced to flee Zimbabwe in February 2009 when she became the target of persecution by state officials. Between November 2009 and February 2010, her home was attacked by unidentified armed men, her family intimidated and the union offices were raided.

In February 2010, Hambira was summoned to police headquarters in Harare. A panel of 17 high-ranking police, army air force and intelligence officials interrogated her about a report and documentary published by GAPWUZ containing first hand testimony of murder, torture and violence against farmworkers perpetrated by state agents.

To draw attention to these abuses, and to help bring about change, IUF and Amnesty are making available postcards addressed to the government of Zimbabwe calling on the authorities to

  • Guarantee Gertrude Hambira’s safe return to the country
  • Cease violations of the human and trade union rights of farmworkers
  • Allow GAPWUZ members and other human rights defenders to carry out their work without fear of intimidation, harassment or violence.

We urge all defenders of human and trade union rights to distribute these postcards in bulk. The IUF secretariat can supply bulk quantities in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish (view the postcard in pdf format here). They are addressed to the Home Ministry in Harare, but can also be signed and delivered or mailed individually or collectively to a Zimbabwean diplomatic representation in your country.

Your support is crucial to the success of this action on International Women’s Day and beyond. Help us to allow Gertrude Hambira to return safely to Zimbabwe and carry on her union work. Request your postcards from [email protected] today!