Zimbabwe Human Rights on Knife Edge

06 August 2018


killer soldier
Soldier takes aim of protesting citizens in the street of Harare

Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights notes with great concern the deteriorating human rights situation in Zimbabwe following the holding of the harmonised 2018 general elections. The MIHR key concerns about the human rights situation in Zimbabwe include:

  1. The shooting of civilian protestors by the armed soldiers using live ammunition on Wednesday 01 August 2018;
  2. The beating and harassment of local and foreign journalists by the military personnel on Wednesday 01 August 2018;
  3. The intimidatory police patrols in Bulawayo on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of August 2018;
  4. The disruption of the MDC Alliance press conference and subsequent harassment of journalists in Harare by police officers on Friday 03 August 2018;
  5. The alleged wanton beating of citizens in Harare which has been reported by media and civic society organizations since Thursday the 2nd of August 2018. Clearly there have been reports of citizens been harassed in Chitungwiza and Newsday Journalist Tinotenda Samukange was detained in Kuwadzana;
  6. The deafening silence of the international community when the human rights situation is degenerating on broad daylight in Zimbabwe;
  7. The selective application of the law by the government as evidenced by the President Elect, Home Affairs Minister and Police Spokesperson among others who have blamed MDC Alliance for the August 1 fiasco and failed to blame those who shot the innocent civilians; and
  8. The selective reporting by the state media which has chosen to take sides with the government and the military instead of objectively reporting on the unfolding deteriorating human rights situation.
police blocking mdc alliance press conference
Police block MDC Alliance press conference

Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights notes that some local and international institutions have already condemned the die human rights situation in Zimbabwe. As an independent human rights watchdog, we are concerned that the one week long events beginning the 1st of August have already shown that the following rights are on knife edge in Zimbabwe:

  1. Freedom of Association and Assembly
  2. Right to demonstrate and petition
  3. Right to personal liberty
  4. Right to human dignity
  5. Right to personal security
  6. Freedom from torture
  7. Freedom of expression and freedom of the media
  8. Freedom of movement
A foreign journalist tries to flee army beating in Harare

MIHR therefore calls on:

  • The government of Zimbabwe to honour its Constitutional duties and the international laws it is signatory to and ensure that all citizens’ rights are protected and promoted;
  • The international human rights community to be progressive and openly speak out on the litany of human rights abuses currently happening in Zimbabwe;
  • The Zimbabwean political leaders to restrain themselves and their supporters from inciting irresponsible violent behavior and actions.
old lady with soldier behind
Old lady walks in the street of Harare with soldier threatening her from behind

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