From 1 – 17 September 2016, 28 victims of organised violence and torture sought treatment for their injuries. These victims had been assaulted in incidents in Harare, Epworth, Chitungwiza, Bindura, and Chiadzwa, or during the widespread violence on 17 September, in response to the NERA demonstration. While there continues to be violence on MDC-T activists and supporters by ZANU-PF youths, the majority of the violence in recent weeks was in response to the rise in protests across the country (See Appendix 1 for more details).
In addition to OVT, violence against protesters and activists has also taken the form of abductions. A disturbing new trend has emerged, whereby people are abducted by armed, masked groups of unknown assailants or military personnel either the night before planned demonstrations or immediately following demonstrations.
Of particular note is the increased carrying of weapons by perpetrators during incidents of targeted violence and abduction.
As in previous weeks, the abductions and torture are a response to the increase in vocal discontent across the country. The victims of state security agents are targeted for exercising fundamental freedoms, including the freedom to demonstrate and petition, and freedom of association, assembly and expression. State agents are using torture and abductions to interrogate and intimidate activists and citizens.
It is an indictment against the government that state organised violence and torture continue to be used as a tool for interrogation and intimidation, despite being prohibited in the new constitution. The Forum will continue to urge the Government of Zimbabwe to ratify the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment. Read more……17 September NGO Forum Report