In the previous update, we gave a brief background to the anti-impunity campaign, its objectives and importance in achieving human rights protection in Zimbabwe. From this week moving forward, we will be sharing with you the anti-impunity processes that we are undertaking and updating you on the human rights situation in Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum is making efforts to hold the security services accountable through ensuring that victims receive justice through litigation. The Forum assists victims who are willing to sue security services for human rights violations they have suffered with legal counsel. In relation to human rights violations perpetrated during the #ZimShutDown period in January 2019, the Forum has since issues 90 notices of intention to sue against members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA). The cases include assault, sexual violence, gunshot wounds, arbitrary and unlawful arrest and detention and extra-judicial killings.
Most of our clients have been able to come forward with desperate hope that they will be afforded justice. The reality is that the majority of victims of security services violence are not able to report the abuses to the police due to fear of intimidation, harassment and unlawful arrests. This is reflective of a much bigger challenge in our security services as they are not discharging their mandate to victims. To date, the Forum has assisted 169 clients who are willing to sue with legal advice with regards to human rights abuses that they suffered in January 2019. We continue to receive clients of pursuing human rights violations post the #ZimShutDown period. This is clear indication that impunity goes hand in hand with human rights violations and without a mechanism to protect victim such violations will continue.
COMMUNITY MONITORING AND REPORTING:
The Forum has established toll free lines where community members can report human rights violations and seek assistance. We continue to gather information about the human rights situation in the country through readily available methods. In addition to the toll free lines, we also have monitors around the country who report on human rights violations being perpetrated in their communities. The goal of community monitoring efforts is for us to continuously engage in advocacy to address human rights violations in Zimbabwe.
The Forum is also currently involved in the process of documenting human rights violations and practices so that the information can be categorized, verified and used effectively. We have recently captured the human rights issues going on in Zimbabwe in the report, “On the days of darkness in Zimbabwe” which reported in the human rights violations committed between 14 January 2019 and 5 February 2019.
For the week ending the 5th of April 2019, the Forum attended to a client whose office was tear gassed. There were 2 teargas canisters on the floor right in the middle of the offices. All the staff members were outside trying to catch a breath after inhaling large quantities of tear gas. Among the employees, was a pregnant woman who was subjected to large quantities of tear gas. One of the employees was shot on the stomach with a teargas canister. It was reported that the ZRP officer purposefully shot him on the stomach on short range. One other employee was slapped with a n open hand. One cell phone (Huawei Y3) and an amount of $RTG300 were allegedly taken by the security forces during the scuffle. The Forum assisted employees to lodge a complaint with the police. Obviously the usual question, Who will guard the guards, continues to ring a bell in our minds, hence the call by the Forum on the need to implement the provisions of Section 210 of the Constitution on the Independent Complaints Mechanism. There is need to assure members of the public, that their matters will be properly investigated.
The Forum has since received instruction to sue the police in connection with this matter.
REPORT VIOLATIONS BY SECURITY SERVICES:
Econet Toll Free: 08080 242
NetOne Toll Free: 08012 020
SMS: 0772 411 124 / 0712 844 954
WhatsAPP: 0772 411 124