Working to Document and Help Combat Politically-Motivated Sexual Violence in Zimbabwe
From 2008-2010, New Perimeter helped international organization AIDS-Free World to document and publicize politically-motivated human rights abuses against Zimbabwean women. With the assistance of Zimbabwe- and Southern Africa-based NGOs, AIDS-Free World reached out to Zimbabwean women who were brutally beaten and systematically raped because of the women’s public support for the opposition political party in Zimbabwe. DLA Piper, through New Perimeter, was the principal law firm partner in this endeavor.
A New Perimeter team of nearly ten DLA Piper lawyers participated in four trips to southern Africa to take testimony from Zimbabwean women who were victims of politically-motivated sexual violence at or around the time of the 2008 presidential elections. These trips resulted in 70 sworn affidavits from victims outlining the details of the abuse. The women shared heartbreaking stories of torture and sexual abuse by youth militia under the control of the ruling party, ZANU-PF, in retaliation for the women’s expressed or perceived support for the opposition political party. In addition, New Perimeter team members organized and analyzed the collected data and provided legal analysis.
New Perimeter's assistance was vital to the production of the report: Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. The report was released at a press conference Johannesburg in December 2009. New Perimeter team lawyers also assisted AIDS-Free World with litigation and advocacy strategies with dual goals of bringing about accountability and raising awareness of the issue of these grave human rights abuses in Zimbabwe to spur the application of political pressure on Mugabe.