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Human Rights Abuses Worse In 2019: NGO Forum

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum) says 2019 was one of the worst years in as far as human rights abuses are concerned in Zimbabwe with the government becoming more ruthless in its approach to citizen’s grievances.

In a statement on the occasion to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the International Human Rights Day, the Forum said the country is facing a deteriorating political, economic and social environment which needs the intervention of the United Nation Human Rights bodies.

“The Forum notes with concern the economic crisis that has resulted in the erosion of disposable income and unemployment resulting in widespread poverty primarily because of poor governance, pervasive corruption and mismanagement of funds.

“This has manifested in, a crippling industrial action by healthcare personnel in state medical facilities, currently ongoing across the country, continuous surging of prices of foodstuffs, shortages of clean water, and the right to education has also been severely affected,” reads the statement.

It further stated that it is concerned about the lack of urgency on the part of the government to resolve the economic crisis, contrary to the spirit of the Declaration of Human Rights.

Over the past year, the government has become more brutal to its citizens as has been noted by an increase in a number of protests which have been violently banned by the police in a case of state-sponsored violence against opposition parties, civil society organisations and human rights defenders.

“It is regrettable that while all this has been happening, the government instead has increased suppression of rights and freedoms. In particular, the freedom of expression, assembly, association and the freedom to demonstrate and petitions are severely curtailed,” said the forum.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of peaceful Assembly and Association, Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, in his preliminary findings following his mission to Zimbabwe in September noted that government’s restriction range from very subtle forms of interference, to threats issued by public authorities to suppress protests and dissent, to the use of the judicial system to impose unlawful charges.

He also noted that there has been disproportionate and excessive use of force resulting in massive violations against protesters.

Coupled with that, The Forum noted with concern “the growing impunity and disregard for the rule of law by government institutions whose mandate is to serve and protect the citizens of Zimbabwe.”

It challenged the government to implement the findings of the Motlanthe Commission in relation to the post-election August 1 shooting which left six people dead.

In the recommendations, the commission called on the prosecution of the police and military officers responsible for the shootings.

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