ZRP violates SADC regulations

International human rights group, Amnesty International, has called on Zimbabwean police to adhere to Southern African Development Community provisions that regulated police behaviour.

The organization spoke out against the arrest of 12 WOZA activists during a peaceful march on UN International Day of Peace last week, saying the behaviour by police was a violation of SADC regulations.

“Amnesty International considers all 12 detainees to be prisoners of conscience arrested solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Zimbabwe’s constitution and international human rights treaties, including in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” said the group in a statement.

“WOZA activists have faced repeated arbitrary arrests and detention for engaging in peaceful protests highlighting social justice issues that affect women and their families in Zimbabwe. They have previously suffered torture and other ill treatment while in custody and denied access to lawyers, to food and water and to necessary medical care.”

Following the arrests, Amnesty has petitioned the Commissioner-General of Police, Augustine Chihuri, to end systematic harassment and intimidation of WOZA activists by police officers and ensure that they respected and protected all human rights in line with Article 1 of the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Co-operating Organisation Code of Conduct for Police Officials.

The police routinely descend heavily on protestors in an attempt to maintain President Robert Mugabe’s stranglehold on power.

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