Zimbabwe: Army, Police Top Human Rights Violations - ZPP

President Emmerson Mnangagwa (file photo).
8 June 2020

For the second time this year, the police and army have topped the list of perpetrators of human rights violations, according to the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP).

In its Monthly report for May 2020, ZPP noted that state security agents have been major perpetrators of human violations since the beginning of the Covid-19 induced lockdown.

"Overall, the police contributed to 41.21 percent of the human rights violations, while the army contributed to 22.26 percent of the violations," read the ZPP report.

The report says Covid 19 is not a health matter as it cuts across all aspects of life.

"It has become apparent that COVID19 is not just a health matter, but touches on economic, political, social and human rights aspects of people. This explains why by the end of May, police had arrested over 40,000 people for defying lockdown regulations; mostly in an effort to conduct economic activities to earn an income.

"ZPP recorded cases of arrested citizens not being taken through the formal arrest procedure, but enduring harassment, intimidation and assault at the hands of law enforcement. Victims told horror stories of their experiences at the hands of law enforcement agents. This makes arrests in Zimbabwe a human rights issue," the report noted

ZPP said it has recorded cases of informal sector traders who experienced police heavy handedness as they attempted to reopen their businesses.

The lobby group called on the Government to respect the constitution in respect of arrest and detention of citizens.

"The State should desist from violating the rights of citizens, and should always respect the arrest and detention procedures as set out in the law. Government should effect security sector reforms as recommended by the Mothlante Commission. Investigations should be carried out on all cases of human rights abuses and an end to impunity. Government should provide social protection for all vulnerable citizens during the lock down and all food and other forms of aid are distributed impartially."

The country is currently under an indefinite Covid-19 induced lockdown that has seen more than 40 000 people arrested.

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