Govt violating Chingwizi villagers' rights: ZPP

HARARE - A rights group, Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) has said government failed to respect the fundamental rights of villagers at Chingwizi transit camp.

The group was also concerned with the situation unfolding following the violence that erupted over the weekend.

The Jestina Mukoko-led civil organisation said the situation had become desperate after officers from the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) destroyed tents at the camp in retributive attacks believed to be linked to an earlier arson attack on two police vehicles.

About 300 victims from Chingwizi were arrested on charges of carrying out the arson attacks.

At least 29 villagers appeared at Chiredzi Magistrate Court on Tuesday where they were charged with committing public violence. The villagers claim they were tortured while in police custody.

“The ZPP understands that the violent eruptions currently being reported at Chingwizi are a result of the long suffering that the people at Chingwizi have been made to endure since they received little or no attention from the government,” ZPP said in a statement.

“It has been over seven months now after the government undertook the resettlement of the villagers on five hectare-plots as well as compensate the victims of the Tokwe-Mukorsi floods.”

The villagers are refusing to move to the one hectare-plots at Nuanetsi Ranch as they believe the government would not keep its promise to compensate them once they are relocated.

“The villagers have on a number of occasions demonstrated their anger by chasing away government ministers who have gone there with empty promises and the recent turmoil between the police and victims over the relocation of a clinic is a clear indication that tensions are flaring in the transit camp,” ZPP said in a statement.

Government had planned to move the clinic from the camp to the permanent plots at Nuanetsi Ranch.

“Human rights violations have continued to be witnessed in the camp with the government failing to respect, protect and fulfil the fundamental rights of the affected families,” ZPP said in a statement.

ZPP said the makeshift ablution blocks constructed were now unusable as they were only one-metre deep, as opposed to them being two metres deep.

The families had long stopped using the toilets which are now overfilled with human waste and this was a ticking health time bomb. The group said surrounding areas were now filled with human waste as people had resorted to using the bush.

“The ZPP believes that if the rainy season comes with the place in this state, there will be a disaster of unimaginable proportions,” ZPP warned.”

It said the available school facilities were not adequate and most children were negatively affected as the teachers did not go to work regularly.

“The food tent provided by the World Food Organisation (WFO) had since been moved to the new one hectare plots about 15km away and the over two thousand people still at the camp now
cannot access food aid,” ZPP said. It said corruption had set in, with a lot of illicit trade going on, including the sale of donated food items and clothing.

“Those who refused to move to the new one-hectare plots are punished by being denied the right to food and the highest attainable health as a result of the lack of health delivery facilities,” ZPP said in the statement.

“Those who moved to the plots have no amenities like roads, clinics, schools although one clinic is being constructed by the Family of God Church.

“There are no avenues for people to raise their concerns and complaints hence their voices are silenced.”

ZPP said the family and cultural fabric had been destroyed as some parents left their children in the care of strangers when they go to look for food or employment in Triangle, about 40km away.

“The ZPP now calls on the government to immediately commission a full and independent investigation on the situation at Chingwizi,” ZPP said.

“The situation at Chingwizi is a clear indication that the victims have been denied the rights to adequate food, water, education, the highest attainable health, shelter, adequate standard of living, a healthy environment and development as guaranteed in the new Constitution.”

ZPP said if social and economic rights were not fully guaranteed and protected, this could trigger violence.

“While these rights have been denied, all those affected but women and girls bear the brunt as they are the ones expected to guarantee food security for the family and they have to fetch water as well as ensure that young members of the family are taken care of when they fall ill,” the ZPP statement said.

“The ZPP calls on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to act in accordance with its obligations to ‘promote the protection, development and attainment of human rights and freedoms’ for the people at Chingwizi.”

ZPP said it would continue to monitor the situation at Chingwizi in line with its vision of a “Zimbabwe where there is peace, justice, dignity and development for all.”

Comments (2)

Ko iyo ZPP yazopindira papi??!! Hatina kumbonzwawo kuti ZPP yaendesa rubatsiro rwezvakati kuChingwizi??!! So it's quite apparent they don't give a hoot about Chingwizi camp; for them it's just an opportunity to create relevance and media presence!!

ZVOKWADI - 7 August 2014

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