Police, army top list of human rights violators


HUMAN rights lobby group, Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) has accused government of fostering tyranny masked as enforcement of lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19 as human rights violation cases continue to increase.


The lobby group said State security agents topped the list of perpetrators of human rights violations.

“For the second time in the year, the police and army topped the list of perpetrators of human rights violations.

Overall, the police contributed 41,21% of the human rights violations, while the army contributed 22,26% of the violations,” ZPP said in a statement yesterday.

The group said the law enforcement agents were often in violation of the arrest procedure.

“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 agents. Victims told horror stories of their experiences at the hands of law enforcement agents,” the statement read.

“This makes arrests in Zimbabwe a human rights issue. ZPP recorded 110 cases of harassment and intimidation, the majority of which are attributed to the State security agents, 13 cases of unlawful detention, 40 cases of assault and sadly, two extra-judicial killings with one of the major cases being of an illegal miner who was shot in the head by a security guard in Shamva on May 15.”

Videos and images of police officers beating up citizens have been circulating on social media platforms, confirming the fears expressed by ZPP, and reaffirming the organisation’s position that police and other enforcement agents should conduct themselves in a professional and ethical way.

ZPP said last month, Harare recorded 100 violations, the highest in the country, followed by Mashonaland East with 41 cases.

ZPP added: “The COVID-19-induced national lockdown has also exacerbated the pre-existing food insecurity. Although the Zimbabwean economy is highly informal, the sector has been excluded from essential services, thereby increasing vulnerability of citizens.

“The end of May 2020 marked eight weeks of limited activity for those in the informal sector. Those that operated did so unlawfully and the consequences were either confiscation of their goods, a hefty fine, or harassment, intimidation and assault by State security agents.”

ZPP urged the government to desist from violating the rights of citizens, and respect the arrest and detention procedures as set out in the law. The lobby group said the government should also reform the security sector as recommended by the Motlanthe Commission and investigations should be carried out on all cases of human rights abuses.


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