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of civil society activists on Sunday 11 March 2007 and subsequent
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
March 13, 2007
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of images and articles
Human Rights NGO Forum, a coalition of sixteen human rights NGOs,
joins civil society leaders in condemning the brutal force used
by the police in stopping a gathering sponsored by the Christian
Alliance and the Save Zimbabwe Campaign in Harare on Sunday 11 March
of public meetings in certain areas of the country, under the seriously
Order and Security Act, will have the cumulative effect of creating
a de facto state of emergency where democratic space will cease
The state, through
its law enforcement agents, has created conditions of brutality,
reportedly subjected those arrested to torture and denied them access
to their lawyers and to medical assistance; this despite a High
Court order that access should be granted. Torture is absolutely
prohibited under international law and there is no basis whatsoever
for the authorities in Zimbabwe to resort to it.
defiance of a ruling of the High Court is a practical demonstration
of the President's unfortunate and provocative statement,
reported in the Herald on 27 July 2002 at a reception to mark the
opening of Parliament, that judges should be objective and "if
they are not objective, don't blame us when we defy them".
There were allegations
and counter-allegations of violence by state agents and opposition
youth at the meeting on Sunday, and one death reported, none of
which can be condoned but where a state attempts to close down all
democratic space and brutalises and savagely beats people who demonstrate
their constitutional rights to freedom of expression, association
and assembly, a viscous cycle of violence emerges.
of our Constitution guarantees political choice to all Zimbabweans
but in the stifling environment in which the country finds itself,
this right is being ignored and denied. The relevant article lays
down that "no person shall be hindered in his freedom
of assembly and association . . . and in particular to form or belong
to political parties or trade unions or other associations for the
protection of his interests."
the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law
Enforcement Officials, the United Nations Code of Conduct for Law
Enforcement Officials, the UN Universal Declaration of Rights and
the African Charter on Human and People's Rights are being
contravened by law enforcement officers with continuing impunity
and increasing frequency.
the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum fact
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