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Political violence report: December 2006 - Overview
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
February 27, 2007

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The year 2006 saw a continued rise in the violations of freedoms of association, expression, assembly and movement. 2006 was markedly worse than 2005 as regards violations of these freedoms. There was a shift from the use of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Miscellaneous Offences Act (MOA) to the use of the Criminal Law Codification Act, which is just as notorious. These Acts have been used to take away the rights to freedom of expression, association, assembly and movement.

Students demonstrated throughout the year against the tuition fee hikes at higher and tertiary education institutions and they were met by brute force from the police as shall be seen in this report. The Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), Zimbabwe Council of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and other organizations continued to demonstrate, in spite of the brute force, assault, torture, intimidation and general repression they met from the police and other agents of the state. The use of the Criminal Law Codification Act rather than the condemned POSA seems to reflect that the Government wants to keep everyone on their toes. POSA was condemned together with the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights Fact-Finding Mission in 2002 in their recommendations to Zimbabwe. The African Commission urged the Government to either repeal or amend this repressive legislation. The Criminal Law Codification Act was not condemned by the African Commission but it is possibly more repressive than POSA.

The use of torture was widespread in 2006. The torture of students from Bindura State University and the ZCTU demonstrators in May and September respectively dealt a huge blow to civil society and for the respect for and protection of human rights in Zimbabwe. Torture is regarded internationally as a gross human rights violation and should never be condoned under whatever circumstances.

In 2006 Government declared its intention to set up a Human Rights Commission for Zimbabwe. This met with strong criticism from civil society, which reiterated the necessity for the adherence to international human rights instruments and the Paris Principles.

This report proffers a comparative analysis between the two years, 2005 and 2006. It is sad to note from the findings that the human rights situation in Zimbabwe continued to decline in 2006. The Human Rights NGO Forum urges Government to take seriously and adhere to international human rights treaties to which it is a party.

The Human Rights Forum issued a number of analytical reports during 2006 (see Appendix), which in themselves are an indication of the serious deterioration in the human rights climate in 2006. Three reports, dealing with Operation Murambatsvina, violations by the Zimbabwe Republic Police, and violations against women, offered serious critiques of the Zimbabwe government’s failure to ensure the observance of human rights. The other reports, dealing with the response of the Zimbabwean courts to civil suits by victims of human rights abuses, the Zimbabwe government’s response to the concerns of the EU, and the prospects for transitional justice, amplified and extended many of the conclusions in the data-driven reports.

Totals: 1 December–31 December 2006
Totals: 1 December-31 December 2006

Cumulative Totals: 1 January–31 December 2006

Cumulative Totals: 1 January-31 December 2006
The graph should be read along with the table depicting the monthly totals of violations from 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2006. The total quantifiable number of victims reported in December 2006 is 10.

Cumulative Totals: 1 January-31 December 2005
Cumulative Totals: 1 January-31 December 2005

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