The month of February was awash with violations of human rights which included the wrongful death of an infant. The infant was shot by a police officer in Marondera during a scuffle with gamblers and died at Parirenyatwa Hospital two days later. The mother of the infant was also shot in the process. The Human Rights Forum deplores such tragic and unnecessary loss of life, especially in the circumstances outlined.
A total of 1070 cases of human rights violations were recorded in the month. Human rights most violated were the freedoms of expression, association and assembly. The sharp increase in violations was due to a number of demonstrations that took place in the month of February. Women from Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) held demonstrations on 13 and 14 February in Bulawayo and Harare respectively. 181 were arrested in Bulawayo and 60 in Harare.
Students, mainly from state sponsored tertiary institutions, held several demonstrations across the country over the sharp increase in tuition fees by the government. This resulted in the arrest of several student leaders who were also subjected to assault and unlawful detention. The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) held a demonstration in Harare on 21 February and 43 of its members were arrested. It is with regret that the Forum notes that in all of these demonstrations, the police assaulted some of the demonstrators.