Arnold Tsunga

2006 Laureate

Arnold Tsunga Arnold Tsunga 2006 Laureate

Personal Details

  • NationalityZimbabwe
  • ProfessionHuman Rights Lawyer
  • Type of workHuman Rights Law

Biography

A Zimbabwean human rights defender and lawyer described as ‘fearless’ and ‘tenacious’, Arnold Tsunga is the founder and former Director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR). Under Mugabe and during the 2000s, Tsunga was the target of numerous campaigns of aggression and assault for his human rights work. He is currently the Director of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) Africa Regional Programme.

At the end of the 1990s, Tsunga gave up practicing as a private lawyer and began to develop human rights programs in Zimbabwe. Fighting against what he describes as “complete corruption of the system of governance”, Tsunga sought the realisation of democracy and human rights through a “political transformation”.

Tsunga played a pivotal role in the establishment of civil society groups for the protection and promotion of human rights in Zimbabwe. He is the former acting Executive Secretary of the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) and former National Chairperson of Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights).

Zimrights

The first violent attack on Tsunga came in 2002 when, on 9 March, he was abducted by a group of 20 soldiers. As part of a group of seven people, Tsunga was threatened at gunpoint and physically assaulted in front of a crowd of onlookers. He was then taken into custody and subjected to serious forms of torture. It forced Tsunga to reflect upon the nature of his work, questioning as to whether it was in fact possible to continue working in a state of complete lawlessness.

In September 2002, following MP Roy Beneton’s abduction by intelligence officers, Tsunga went to the military detention center to assess Beneton’s condition, and was threatened at gunpoint by intelligence officers.

In a struggle against perpetual oppression, a corrupt judiciary and politicized security services, Tsunga developed the ZLHR as a mechanism to provide legal representation to victims of human rights abuses and a protection to human rights defenders. Tsunga worked closely with the international human rights community to not only provide training to lawyers and human rights activists, but extensive documentation of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

Arnold Tsunga

The first violent attack on Tsunga came in 2002 when, on 9 March, he was abducted by a group of 20 soldiers. As part of a group of seven people, Tsunga was threatened at gunpoint and physically assaulted in front of a crowd of onlookers. He was then taken into custody and subjected to serious forms of torture. It forced Tsunga to reflect upon the nature of his work, questioning as to whether it was in fact possible to continue working in a state of complete lawlessness.

In September 2002, following MP Roy Beneton’s abduction by intelligence officers, Tsunga went to the military detention center to assess Beneton’s condition, and was threatened at gunpoint by intelligence officers.

In a struggle against perpetual oppression, a corrupt judiciary and politicized security services, Tsunga developed the ZLHR as a mechanism to provide legal representation to victims of human rights abuses and a protection to human rights defenders. Tsunga worked closely with the international human rights community to not only provide training to lawyers and human rights activists, but extensive documentation of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

Photos

Arnold Tsunga
Arnold Tsunga
Arnold Tsunga
Arnold Tsunga
Arnold Tsunga
Arnold Tsunga