Human Rights Violations Update by Heal Zimbabwe

Harare, 19 July 2017

 

  1. Summary of Human Rights Violations.

 

Heal Zimbabwe recorded a total of 28 human rights violations from 18 districts from the 27th of June to the 7th of July 2017. The organisation recorded human rights violations that fall into 6 categories that include  intimidation with threats of violence , threats of withdrawal of food aid or agricultural inputs, forced participation (in political meetings, Financial or material contributions), unfair food aid distribution, arson and assault. Cases of intimidation in local communities are on a rise recording 57.1% (16 cases) compared to the previous week where 48% was recorded (13 cases). Forced participation or contribution in political party activities seconds the list of the most violations recording 25% (7 cases), followed by unfair distribution of food aid recorded at 7.1% (2 cases). Arson, assault and threats of withdrawal of food aid recorded 3.6% each (3 cases).

 

Heal Zimbabwe observed that both intimidation and forced participation or contributions top the list of human rights violations recorded in the past week. This is a testament of the state of the political environment in most rural communities as the nation approaches the 2018 elections. Such flashes of human rights violations is an indication of more violations to come as the plebiscite draws closer. Most cases of intimidation were recorded in Chiwundura Constituency which conducted a by election on 15 July amid little competition from the opposition parties.

 

  1. Nature of Human Rights Violations Recorded.

 

  1. Number of Cases Recorded by District

 

The data gathered by Heal Zimbabwe indicate that 18 districts recorded at least one case of human rights violations during the period under review. Intimidation recorded a total of 16 cases from 12 Districts save for Gokwe South, Chegutu, Zvimba and Bindura.  Forced contributions registered a total of 7 cases which were recorded in Gutu, Chiwundura, Bindura, Muzarabani, Gokwe South and Nyanga. Heal Zimbabwe also noted that  99% of the violations were largely committed by people who identified themselves as ZANU PF activists and sympathisers who include ZANU PF ward chairpersons, war veterans, local councillors, village heads and youths. Heal Zimbabwe observes that the recurrence of intimidation in local communities is an early warning indicator of possible violence ahead of the 2018 elections. The organisation is concerned with the rise in cases of both covert and overt violence cases in recent weeks. Violence as usual compromises communities’ free participation in civic and other democratic processes such as elections.

 

  1. Conclusion

Heal Zimbabwe observed that intimidation continue topping the list followed by forced participation in political gatherings. The absence of a genuine national healing, reconciliation and justice process continue to promote lawlessness and a vicious cycle of violence. There is a deliberate strategy by perpetrators of political violence  to continue with the ‘Harvest of Fear’ making reference to  past epochs of violence leading to many people shunning away from democratic processes. Heal Zimbabwe continues to call upon political parties to campaign peacefully and respect divergent views. The organisation further urges political parties to embrace and adopt the organisation’s National Peace Campaign for peaceful 2018 elections running under the theme 13 Million Voices For Peace. Heal Zimbabwe will continuously monitor the environment with an aim of swiftly responding to needs of  victims/survivors of violence.

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