The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (The Forum) envisions a society which promotes and protects all human rights of all people. It is in this spirit that we continue to monitor the human rights situation in the country and provide consolidated legal support to victims and employ advocacy strategies driven towards contributing to an anti-impunity culture in Zimbabwe. We continue to share with you the efforts and actions that the Forum is taking in fighting impunity and seeking justice and accountability for victims and survivors.
Report to the African Commission for Human and People’s Rights
The Forum recently took the fight against impunity to the continent’s supreme human rights body, the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights (The African Commission). The African Commission, which is established in terms of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, meets in ordinary sessions twice a year to review the human rights situation in Africa. Meeting during its 64thordinary session in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, the African Commission received reports on the human rights situation in Africa, from various bodies including the government of Zimbabwe as well as regional and local NGOs, the Forum and the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
Though the government persisted with its line of denial of the seventeen (17) extrajudicial killings which happened during the January 2019 mass stayaway (#ZimShutDown), it was gratifying to note that the African Commission was concerned and reported to having sent urgent appeals to the government of Zimbabwe to halt such killings. Further, the African Union Southern African Regional Office (AU-SARO), an intergovernmental body reported that they have noted the human rights violations and called upon the government of Zimbabwe to respect the basic human rights of its citizens.
Legal Action on the domestic front
The Forum continues to assist victims of human rights violations perpetrated by security services. To date, the Forum has received, reported and offered legal assistance to at least 357 victims between January and April 2019. In response to the violations that occurred during the #ZimShutdown, a total of 136 notices of intention to sue have been issued against the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) on behalf of clients whose rights were violated. The Forum is waiting for the required sixty (60) days’ notice to apse before it issues the summons seeking redress for victims of human rights violations.
In 2018, the Forum submitted before the Commission of inquiry into the August 2018 post-election violence (the Motlanthe Commission), eighteen (18) affidavits of evidence on behalf of our victims of human rights violations. Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs permanent secretary, Mrs Virginia Mabhiza has indicated that they have made recommendations to the Inter-Ministerial Task-force requesting a budget that should be provided through the Department of Social Welfare to compensate the direct dependents of the victims of the August 1 2018 post-election violence. She has further indicated that the Ministry of Finance, sitting together with the Department of Social Welfare will do the assessments and quantification of the damages.
This is a positive step taken by the government in implementing the recommendations by the Motlanthe Commission and more broadly being accountable for the human rights violations that were perpetrated by security services. We will continue to monitor government’s commitment in actioning this. Further, with the current economic challenges that the country is facing, this is the test on the government’s commitment to fighting impunity in Zimbabwe. We continue to urge the government to priorities human rights protection. We also note that the true test to the sincerity of the government is by holding perpetrators accountable and having them prosecuted in courts of law. It is only when the perpetrators are prosecuted that true justice can be delivered and also a culture of impunity defeated in Zimbabwe.
In the last two weeks, the Forum has received thirty cases of harassment and intimidation on political party lines. There were also cases of arbitrary arrests, detention and assault which were reported through the Forum’s platforms.
The human rights situation in the country remains precarious and as citizens we have the duty to hold security services accountable. Security services have the role to uphold their mandate which is embedded in protecting the human rights of citizens. The Forum encourages citizens to report violations by the security services on our anti-impunity platforms to bring about accountability and fight impunity.
Report violations by the Security Services
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