Human Rights Violations Update

Heal Zimbabwe recorded a total of 15 cases of human rights violations from 10 districts from the 16th - 22th of September 2017. Two recurring categories of human rights violations were recorded, these include intimidation (with threats of violence or threats of withdrawal of food aid or agricultural inputs) and forced participation (in political meetings, financial or material contributions).

Intimidation continuously top the list of cases recorded this week with 86.66% (13 cases) and forced attendance to political gatherings recording 13.33% (2 cases). Heal Zimbabwe observed that for the third time in a row, the recorded human rights violations are mainly centred on the, (i) Falsehoods around the ongoing Biometric Voter Registration process country wide and the, (ii) ZANU PF restructuring meetings currently taking place in local communities.

Heal Zimbabwe notes with great concern the continued prevalence of human rights violations linked to intimidation in local communities. With the recent launch of the new Biometric Voter Registration process at 63 centres countrywide, local communities have not been spared of victimisation mainly perpetrated by suspected ZANU PF activists. Cases where suspected opposition supporters were denied proof of residence have been recorded. Local rural communities have mixed feelings over the BVR process due to the intimidation coined around the process. People are being threatened by well-known ZANU PF supporters that the new BVR process allows the ruling party to monitor voting trends thus knowing who would have voted for the opposition. Heal Zimbabwe continuously perceives intimidation as a barrier towards the realisation of peace in Zimbabwe and a stumbling block to the achievement of a  democratic society as provided for in the Constitution.

2.0 Nature of Violations Recorded.

2.1     Number of Cases Recorded by District.

The above diagram indicates the distribution of human rights violations by district. The distribution reveals that human rights violations were recorded in a total of 10 Districts that are: Zaka, Chivi, Bikita, Gutu, Mberengwa, Muzarabani, Mt Darwin, Hurungwe, Wedza and Mutasa. Heal Zimbabwe observed that the human rights violations recorded in this period were committed by 18 perpetrators (16 males and 2 females). ZANU PF topped the list of the perpetrators with 11 (10 males and 1 female), followed by War veterans with three (all males), Councillors recorded three (1 female and 2 males) and one traditional leader (male). Heal Zimbabwe predicts an increase in the number of human rights violations as the country heads towards a full blown voter registration process and campaign period.  The victims recorded in this week include opposition supporters, traditional leaders and community members.

3.0 Our Intervention on Human Rights Violations.

Heal Zimbabwe is dedicated to protecting and assisting survivors of torture so that they are able to access justice and requisite social services in time. The organisation is also engaged in several peace building activities including engaging and dialoguing with perpetrators of political violence in a niche to promote peace and social cohesion in local communities. Furthermore, Heal Zimbabwe forwarded the recorded human rights cases for further investigation and redress to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). Heal Zimbabwe is however greatly concerned by the falsehoods coined around the BVR process, and implores ZEC to intervene to ensure that communities participate in the process from an informed position. HZT further calls for political parties to promote peace as they campaign and desist from using unconstitutional and intimidatory tactics when enticing potential voters. HZT yearns to ensure that all the citizens’ including those in remote rural areas enjoy peace and are allowed to exercise their democratic right to participate in electoral processes without fear of being victimised. Heal Zimbabwe is currently rolling out a National Peace Campaign dubbed 13 million Voices for Peace, #13MilVoices4Peace aimed at promoting peace and tolerance ahead of the election. The organisation through the peace campaign is also targeting youths to promote peace and desist from engaging in violent activities before, during and after the elections.

4.0 Conclusion.

The period under review was generally peaceful although covert cases of human rights violations were recorded especially around the ongoing voter registration process. Heal Zimbabwe condemns in the strongest terms all forms of human rights violations and calls for all the political parties and relevant stakeholders to promote peace and desist from perpetuating fear and violence in the communities. HZT further calls for community members to peacefully co-exist despite different political views. The organisation implores the ZEC and ZHRC to launch investigations into the recorded human rights cases and ensure that the survivors receive justice.

NB: Please find attached a more detailed report.

Heal Zimbabwe

We, envision a peaceful and prosperous Zimbabwe that celebrates diversity within local communities. Our mission is to prevent and transform conflicts with a particular focus of social justice. Our report records human rights violations mainly from key conflict and violence hotspots.

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