Human rights watchdog records surge in violations

HUMAN rights watchdog, Heal Zimbabwe Trust has recorded 44 human rights violations from 21 districts between April 1 and 20 as the nation gears for this year’s elections.
The trust said it recorded a total of four human rights violations categories.

BY SILAS NKALA

“These include intimidation [with threats of violence or threats of withdrawal of food aid or agricultural inputs], forced contributions, assault and destruction of campaign material. Intimidation recorded the highest number of violations constituting 84,09% (37 cases), forced contributions recorded 9,09% (4 cases),” a Heal Zimbabwe latest report read.

“Assault recorded 4,54% (two cases) and destruction of campaign material recorded 2,27% (one case each). The recorded human rights violations originated from the Zanu PF restructuring exercise, the collection of biometric voter registration serial numbers, the Independence Day celebrations and the ongoing MDC Alliance rallies.”

Heal Zimbabwe indicated that it observed that intimidation continuously topped the list since the beginning of the year.

“In the period under review, 37 cases of intimidation were recorded, compared to 29 cases from the previous report. Intimidation continue to be used mostly by perpetrators as an avenue to garner and mobilise support for the ruling Zanu PF party,” reported the trust.

“Threats of violence and withdrawal of food and agricultural inputs remain the major highlights of the intimidation. Heal Zimbabwe observed that victims in local communities succumb to these threats and usually end up giving in to the threats and demands of the perpetrators.”

The trust reported that such a situation was in direct violation of Section 67 of the Constitution that provides for political rights where every citizen has the right to form, join and participate in the activities of a political party of his or her own choice.

“Heal Zimbabwe further notes that intimidation results in a fearful society and thwarts efforts towards peace and social cohesion as the nation approaches the harmonised elections,” the trust reported.

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