Rights violations escalate: ZDI

HARARE - Human rights violations against opposition supporters are rising sharply ahead of the 2018 elections, Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) think-tank warned yesterday.

“The nature of human rights abuses as recorded in the cases range from harassment and intimidation, arbitrary eviction, torture, degrading and inhumane treatment, deprivation of socio-economic rights such as education and health, rights against freedom of assembly and association to the right to petition and demonstrate,” the damning ZDI report read.

“Thus most human rights abuses are politically motivated and are being perpetrated against supporters of opposition parties such as MDC-T, MDC Renewal, Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe People First. This trend of politically motivated violence is likely to increase as Zimbabwe moves towards elections in 2018.”

This comes as seven ZPF supporters were hospitalised after being bashed by suspected Zanu PF supporters in Harare South, GlenView and Glen Norah for attending Joice Mujuru’s Harare rally last Saturday.

ZDI said the government must provide adequate funding to ensure the fulfilment of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC)’s mandate of monitoring and promoting human rights.

ZHRC is a national human rights institution which was established under section 242 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. It is an independent commission whose main mandate is to protect, promote and enforce human rights.

“Given that most human rights abuses are politically motivated, the ZHRC should devise platforms that bring political parties together and work towards eradicating politically motivated violence.

“This could fill the gap left by the dissolution of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee at the end of the inclusive government in 2013,” the report said referring to the multi-partisan panel that was first launched on January 30, 2009, pursuant of the 2008 Zimbabwean power-sharing agreement to serve as catalyst in creating and promoting an atmosphere of mutual trust and understanding between the political parties.

“As some human rights abuses are allegedly perpetrated by the security apparatus of the state, the ZHRC must create avenues of engaging these institutions to ensure they play a positive role in the enforcement and respect of human rights in Zimbabwe,” added the report.

The ZDI report comes after Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum last month noted the Zanu PF government was not showing commitment in ending human rights violation.

In a quarterly political and human rights violations report, the NGO Forum said the Zanu PF government instead of attending to the country’s worsening political and social-economic crises that affect human rights, party bigwigs were seized with factional and succession wars.

“The Zimbabwe human rights situation remains turbulent, characterised by an escalation of human rights violations and a fragile social and economic environment,” the report reads.

The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) in March also urged Zanu PF to rein in its supporters who are suspected to be behind recent attacks on opposition members.

This was after suspected Zanu PF youths stormed a ZPF rally in Glen View and pelted supporters with stones, injuring many in the process. The incident came hardly a week after other suspected Zanu PF youths attacked an MDC youth rally in Mbare.

ZPP said such behaviour was regrettable and should be condemned.

“Zanu PF youths have been implicated in both cases,” the ZPP statement said. “The injuries sustained by victims, the damage to vehicles and other items; as well as the general panic and disturbances as a result of the violence could have been avoided; and has no place in modern politics which is supposed to be tolerant, multiplistic and diverse.”

The NGO Forum said the spike in human rights violations became visible in December 2015 and continued during the first quarter.

“Economic, social and cultural rights are violated partly through the government’s lack of commitment in investing in the realisation of these rights. The government is demonstrating limited commitment to promote and protect rights.

“It is disturbing that the ruling party seems to be preoccupied with power contestations at the expense of the economy which is in a dire state, making it very difficult for citizens to access their constitutionally-guaranteed rights.”

Comments (1)

#mugabe bring back the money you stole

vhisai vanhu pamvuri - 1 July 2016

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