'Female suspects denied sanitary wear'

HARARE - Police are violating female suspects’ rights by denying them access to sanitary wear while in custody, Justice for Women Zimbabwe (JWZ) has said.

The women’s rights group — which spoke in reference to the treatment of a group of 10 women who were arrested on allegations of torching a ZBC vehicle during protests in July — claimed that the female suspects had to resort to wiping flowing menstrual blood with their clothes.

“The deplorable conditions in which women are exposed to during . . . detention are an indictment on the State,” JWZ said in a statement.

“These women were denied access to sanitary wear,” the organisation said.

“As a women’s rights defender, JWZ would want to warn rogue police elements that we will not hesitate to take legal action against them in their personal capacity,” it said, adding that “most of the women . . . developed diseases as a result of being exposed to the intolerable conditions”.

This comes as reports of inhuman treatment of suspects and prisoners by authorities are escalating, with torture in incarceration being named under common rights abuses in the country.

On the back of that, JWZ — which has written to police Commissioner-General, Augustine Chihuri, seeking a meeting in relation to the alleged abuses — said members of the police who ill-treat “prisoners” must be investigated.

“JWZ notes with great concern that the same treatment previously suffered by activists like Jestina Mukoko is recurring,” the organisation said.

One of the 10 women — who were apprehended by police and released two days later — is said to be traumatised by the ill-treatment so much that she has not been able to recover for months.

“Police arrested, beat up and detained (the) 10 women from Roselyn house. The women were detained under inhumane conditions against the basic benchmarks set in the Constitution,” JWZ said, further stating that the women “were made to sleep on the floor with no blankets and as if that was not enough, the police also denied them legal representation, which is again a constitutional right”.

“The tenth woman who is nineteen years of age was psychologically traumatised to the extent that she has never been able to report for work after this unfortunate incident,” the organisation said.

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba refuted JWZ’S claims.

“No one is denied access to sanitary wear. If you are brought the pads by your relative, you will be allowed to have them. The police do not provide sanitary wear,” she said.

“We also have channels where people can report. They should have reported to the officer commanding or the complaints desk if that happened,” Charamba said, adding that “when the organisation wrote to the commissioner general, we informed them that he was not around as he was attending a regional conference”.

Comments (2)

Female Prisoners support Trust regrets the unfortunate incident. As part of our advocacy work we try by all means to highlight issues of human dignity and provision of sanitary wear is one of them. when a system is shocked a menstrual cycle starts all over again. places of detention should have these basic needs for women. Sexual and reproductive health rights is a must.

Rita Beauty Nyampinga - 20 October 2016

People like Charity Charamba are a disgrace to motherhood. Lets hope one day we can throw them in prison and will see how they will celebrate being denied basic necesities. Shame on you Charamba. You think ZANU will be there forever?

Oliver Mandipaka - 21 October 2016

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