Where is HRC on Chingwizi?

The Zimbabwe Peace Project has expressed concern over government’s continued human rights violations of families living at Chingwizi transit camp in Masvingo. They have called on the commission to instigate a full and independent investigation.

A statement issued by the ZPP yesterday attributed the violence that erupted at the holding camp last week to the long suffering that the peopl have been made to endure receiving little or no attention from the government.

“Human rights violations have continued to be witnessed in the camp with the government failing to respect, protect and fulfill the fundamental rights of the affected families,” read the ZPP statement.

“The situation at Chingwizi is a clear indication that the victims have been denied the rights to adequate food, water, education, the highest attainable health, shelter, adequate standard of living, a healthy environment and development as guaranteed in the new Constitution.”

The ZPP called on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to act in accordance with its obligations to “promote the protection, development and attainment of human rights and freedoms” for the people at Chingwizi.

“The ZPP now calls on the government to immediately commission a full and independent investigation on the situation at Chingwizi,” said the ZPP.

According to the organisation, the plight of the families at Chingwizi was unbearable and inhuman considering that the majority of their facilities had broken down and had become unusable.

“The make shift ablution blocks constructed are now un-usable as they were only one metre deep as opposed to them being two metres deep.

“The families long stopped using the toilets that are now overfilled with human waste and this is a ticking health time bomb.”

The organisation said because the area surrounding the transit camp was now filled with human waste as people have resorted to using the bush, there was need to urgently act on Chingwizi before the rainy season.

“The available school facilities are not adequate and most children are negatively affected as the teachers do not go to work regularly,” read the statement.

“The food tent provided by the World Food Organisation (WFO) has since been moved to the new one hectare plots about fifteen kilometers away and the over two thousand people still at the camp now cannot access food aid.”

The ZPP attributed some of the challenges at the holding camp to corruption.

“Corruption has set in with a lot of illicit trade going on including sale of donated food items and clothing. Those who refused to move to the new one hectare plots are being punished by being denied the right to food and the highest attainable health as a result of the lack of health delivery facilities,” read the statement.

“Those who moved to the plots have no amenities like roads, clinics, schools although one clinic is being constructed by the Family of God Church.”

According to the organisation, the affected Chingwizi families had no platform to raise their concerns and their voices were silenced.

“The family and cultural fabric is destroyed as some parents leave their children in the care of strangers when they go to look for food or employment in Triangle about forty kilometers away,” stated the ZPP.

Last weekend, the villagers attacked police officers and burnt two of their vehicles in an arson attack which resulted in retributive attacks from the officers of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) who burnt tents at the camp.

The attacks saw the arrest of 300 victims from Chingwizi, 29 of whom appeared at Chiredzi Magistrate Court yesterday on public violence charges.

According to reports from Chiredzi, the villagers allege torture while in police custody.

“The ZPP understands that the violent eruptions at Chingwizi are a result of the long suffering that the people at the camp were made to endure receiving little or no attention from the government,” read the statement.

It has been over seven months now after the government undertook to resettle the villagers on 5 hectare-plots as well as compensate the victims of the Tokwe Mukosi floods.

The villagers are refusing to move to the 1 hectare-plots at Nuanetsi Ranch as they believe that the government will not keep its promise to compensate them once they are relocated.

“The villagers have on a number of occasions demonstrated their anger by chasing away government ministers who have gone there with empty promises and the recent turmoil between the police and the victims over the relocation of the clinic is a clear indication that tensions are flaring in the transit camp,” said the ZPP.

“If social and economic rights are not fully guaranteed and protected this can trigger violence and the situation at Chingwizi is a case in point. While these rights have been denied all those affected but women and girls bear the brunt as they are the ones expected to guarantee food security for the family and they have to fetch water as well as ensure that young members of the family are taken care of when they fall ill.”

Post published in: News
  1. Muzamani

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