Justice for Women Zimbabwe (JWZ), Female Prisoners Support Trust (FEMPRIST) and Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE) note with concern and anguish the gross human rights violations by the Zimbabwe Government and state security agents, particularly the rights of women.
Addressing the Media in Harare, women organisations said seventeen (17) women have come forward to seek medical and psycho-social support following rape by armed security agents.
“We believe there are still many affected who are afraid to come out and we are calling upon them to come forward and seek assistance from organizations like the Adult Rape Clinic, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Msasa Project, WALPE, JSW, FemPrist” read the statement.
We will ensure that the experiences of women during the shutdown particularly the torture in the hands of the army are not going to be lost in political conversations until justice prevails.
We are also worried that the justice system may be fast tracking cases as we learnt upon visiting Chikurubi on Sunday 27 January that two young women who are sisters and from Kuwadzana, Harare have already been convicted and sentenced to 5 years in prison each.
1) We demand that an independent complaints mechanism as provided for by Section 210 of the constitution be set up to provide mechanisms for citizens to lodge complaints against members of the security force as citizens have no trust in the police as some of them were perpetrators.
2) We demand the prosecution of all the perpetrators without fear or favour and that they are all barred from ever working in the security sector.
3) We also call upon the police and the army to allow civil society organizations to freely engage the affected communities through carrying out robust public awareness exercises encouraging women to come out and seek treatment as well as to provide psycho-social support to victims.
4) We are also calling for a lasting solution to the problems bedevilling the country and an inclusive dialogue process is a step in the right direction involving all stakeholders ie the church, civil society organizations, political parties, the business, people with disabilities, various groupings of citizens and most importantly women as they carry the face of poverty in this country and are naturally good mediators.
5) We further demand that the Government of Zimbabwe take up the recommendations of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission which were accurate and bold on what transpired and what must be done. Attempts to meander and suppress the report by denouncing the commission as we are witnessing from various government officials is unacceptable.
May the souls of our sisters and all who died rest in peace. We also wish all women and girls nursing injuries a quick recovery.