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Statement on Political Violence in Epworth | Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum

Statement on Political Violence in Epworth

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum) unreservedly condemns in the strongest of terms the violence that erupted in Epworth on Sunday 21 February 2010. The violence erupted in Epworth’s Wards 4, 6 and 7 at an MDCT
organized rally on the constitutional making process. It is alleged that ZANU PF youth militia attacked MDCT supporters who had gathered for the rally. The militia is reported to have used a variety of weaponry during the attack.
Reported incidences point to a new wave of interparty violence resulting largely from the bickering within the GNU. Epworth victims were assaulted, beaten and some had their houses and property destroyed. This was followed by allegations that ZANUPF supporters were also attacked and some seriously injured by suspected MDCT supporters at a firewood project on the same day.

The Forum expresses its disappointment at the continued existence of militia bases and the alleged reopening of such bases in Epworth and other parts of the country. In the past such bases have been used to organize, direct and execute violence against known or perceived opponents of ZANU PF. The Forum therefore calls for the dismantling of these and torture bases. We urge the responsible authorities to quickly put a stop to political violence and to bring the perpetrators to justice. In Article 18 of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), the parties recognized that “violence dehumanizes and engenders feelings of hatred and polarization.” The reported violence undermines the ongoing efforts on nation building and in particular, national healing and reconciliation. The Forum implores the parties to the GPA to
promote the values and practices of tolerance, to do everything to stop and prevent all forms of political violence and to take positive measures to ensure compliance with the provisions of the GPA.

Members of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum:
· Amnesty International (Zimbabwe)
· Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (Zimbabwe)
· Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe
· Justice for Children Trust
· Legal Resources Foundation
· Media Institute of Southern Africa (Zimbabwe)
· Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
· Nonviolent Action and Strategies for Social Change
· Research and Advocacy Unit
· Students Solidarity Trust
· Transparency International (Zimbabwe)
· Women of Zimbabwe Arise
· Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and the Rehabilitation of the
Offender
· Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights
· Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust
· Zimbabwe Human Rights Association
· Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
· Zimbabwe Peace Project
· Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association

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