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Freedoms of expression, assembly and association most violated rights in 2004 | Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum

Freedoms of expression, assembly and association most violated rights in 2004

In the Political Violence Report for December 2004, in addition to describing the human rights violations that were reported in December 2004, comparisons are drawn between the incidence of violence and other human rights violations for 2003 and 2004. This comparison is illustrated with a number of graphs showing the broad categories of violations perpetrated in the past two years, with the contrast between physical violence, psychological violence, interference with freedoms and murder being shown.

As is seen, there are great similarities between the two years, but also some minor differences. Contrasts are also made between the two years in the numbers of types of human rights violation, and also between the number of violations per month.

Incidents of physical violence and violations of freedoms were higher in 2003 than in 2004. Psychological violence was also higher in 2003 than in 2004, whilst political discrimination and assault were higher in 2004. It is noteworthy that the most frequently violated rights in both years were those associated with freedoms of expression, assembly and association, rights and freedoms protected under Section 21 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

The statistics for both years indicate marked increases in violence and other human rights violations associated with elections, by-elections, stayaways and demonstrations by members of civil society. The Public Order and Security Act (POSA) was widely used in this respect against citizens demonstrating in support of a new constitution or for food security and affordable food.

The Non-Governmental Organizations Bill (NGO Bill) had its third reading in Parliament on 9 December 2004, ironically on the eve of World Human Rights Day on 10 December 2004. The Bill has already impacted negatively on civil society in a number of ways, and created uncertainty among some members of the donor community. One of the consequences in December 2004 was the inability of regular contributors to the Political Violence Report to collect information on human rights violations in the country for this month, and this is reflected in the paucity of information in this report.

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