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Strikes and Protests 2007- Save Zimbabwe Campaign
Bar Association (IBA) deplores police attacks on protesters
Bar Association (IBA)
March 12, 2007
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Bar Association (IBA)'s Human Rights Institute today expressed
shock and dismay in response to the brutal police action on protesters
in Zimbabwe, which resulted in one death and arrests of more than
100 opposition members over the weekend.
Following a three-month ban on political rallies and protests recently
imposed by the Government of Zimbabwe, police responded violently
to a public gathering held in Highfield on Sunday. The police reportedly
fired on protesters resulting in the death of Gift Tandare, a member
of the Movement for Democratic Change, and injuring many others.
The leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai,
and other activists were arrested.
The IBA is extremely concerned about reports that Mr Tsvangirai
and other opposition leaders have been beaten by police and are
being held without access to their lawyers. It is not clear yet
whether Mr Tsvangirai and the other detainees have been allowed
access to medical care.
The IBA is opposed to any form of police brutality and torture,
and calls on the Zimbabwe Government to take immediate action to
investigate these serious allegations and to make accountable those
responsible. The IBA continues to oppose the ban on protests, which
breaches international and regional human rights law and the Constitution
of Zimbabwe. The IBA also condemns any denial of detainees'
rights of access to lawyers, and calls for the activists to be charged
legitimately or released immediately.
The IBA further calls for a public inquiry into the police force's
response to the meeting in Highfield and the constitutionality of
the three-month ban on public rallies.
'The Government of Zimbabwe continues to disregard its
obligations to protect the human rights of its citizens',
Mark Ellis, Executive Director of the International Bar Association
stated. 'Action must be taken to hold those state agents,
of all levels, responsible for crimes committed against persons
legitimately exercising their fundamental right to free assembly.'
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