Human Rights Violations Update

1. Summary of Human Rights Violations.

In the period under review 08-24 July 2017,  Heal Zimbabwe recorded a total of 16 human rights violations from 10 districts across the country. The organisation recorded a total of 4 different categories of human rights violations that include Intimidation with threats of violence or threats of withdrawal of food aid or agricultural inputs, unfair aid distribution, disruption of political gatherings and forced participation (in political meetings, Financial or material contributions). Intimidation registered a staggering 75% (12 cases), followed by unfair distribution of food or agricultural inputs registering a total of 12.5% (2 cases), disruption of political gatherings recording 6.25% (1 case) and forced attendance to political gatherings recording 6.25% (1 case).The organisation is greatly concerned by the rising number of cases related to intimidation in local communities.

The upsurge signals possible violence ahead of the 2018 elections. HZT is equally concerned by cases of intimidation emerging around the new Biometric Voter Registration process. Community members are being threatened by perpetrators who are moving around claiming that the new registration process allows them to see who the people would have voted for. This undemocratic behaviour compromises the credibility of the whole electoral process. And HZT calls upon the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to move in swiftly especially in rural areas and conduct robust mass voter education exercises to demystify the lies as this helps in boosting the electorate’s confidence in the whole election process.

2.      Nature of Human Rights Violations Recorded.

3.    Number of Cases Recorded by District.

The above distribution indicates that violations were recorded in 10 Districts that include Zvimba, Kariba, Mudzi, Kadoma, Mberengwa, Chivi, Buhera, Zvishavane, Hurungwe and Makoni compared to the previous week were human rights violations were recorded from 18 districts. Heal Zimbabwe observed that there was a slump in the number of human rights violations recorded this period (16 cases) compared to the previous week were 28 cases were recorded. Intimidation was recorded in the other nine districts save for Zvishavane district which recorded one case of unfair distribution of food aid/agricultural inputs. 15 perpetrators were identified in the reported cases being (13 males and 2 females). 11 of the perpetrators are largely within ZANU PF party structures, then 2 local councillors, 1 war veteran and 1 police constabulary officer. The victims were largely community members, human rights activists and opposition party supporters.

Our Intervention on Human Rights Violations.

Heal Zimbabwe works tirelessly to protect and assist victims of violence and ensure that they are able to access justice and requisite psycho-social services. In the cases reported this week, the organisation forwarded the cases to the  Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) for further investigation and redress. HZT believes that intimidation with threats of past electoral violence compromises the credibility of upcoming elections hence efforts to engage the electoral management board, ZEC to look into the issues. It is the responsibility of the electoral institution to ensure a level playing field for community members to exercise their fundamental rights and freedoms regarding elections as enshrined in section 67 of the Constitution which guarantees freedom to freely participate in electoral processes. In an attempt to reduce violence and intimidation around the elections, HZT is currently reaching out to community members especially youth across the country to uphold peace and shun violence before, during and after the elections. The organisation is currently running a national peace campaign: 13 Million Voices For Peace under hashtag #13MilVoices4Peace aimed at encouraging every Zimbabwean to be tolerant and respect diverse views and choices ahead of the election. Several peace awareness initiatives are currently taking place countrywide.

5.      Conclusion

Heal Zimbabwe continues to condemn all forms of violence that compromises peace and social cohesion. The organisation further implores all political parties to utilise peaceful mechanisms of garnering support in a manner that does not infringe on other people’s rights. HZT further calls upon ZHRC and ZEC to launch investigations into the reported cases and ensure perpetrators are brought to book.

Please find attached a detail report of the violations.

NB: Heal Zimbabwe is currently operating a 24hr early warning and early response system ahead of the 2018 elections. Please feel free to report any cases of human rights violations on the following numbers: +263 785 699 910, +263 779 449 071 

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