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Political violence Report - September 2007 - Overview
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
November 09, 2007

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After promises of changing the political environment especially in recognition of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) mediation initiative between the ZANU PF and the two MDCs, politically motivated violence, and use of force by state security agents in Zimbabwe continued in September albeit at reduced levels compared to August 2007. In separate responses to the concerns raised by civil society and the MDC on politically motivated violence, the Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) through the Minister of Home Affairs, Kembo Mohadi and President Mugabe, noted that any allegations of violence after the 11 March 2007 incidents were false. However, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (Hereinafter The Forum) contends that the year 2007 has been the worst and evidence to corroborate these allegations is available. In April 2007, the Forum recorded 10 cases of torture. In May there were a total of 373 cases of politically motivated human rights violations. June and July were marked with high numbers of forceful dispersion of demonstrators by the police leading to unlawful arrests and detentions.

In this report the Forum notes that the month of September was characterised by a systematic wave of human rights violations against various groups of citizens agitating for attention from the GoZ on a myriad of issues concerning inter alia, the provision of education, the need for a people driven constitution and other issues linked to economic and social rights. The Forum strongly believes that the issues for which people are advocating are not in any way criminal and the people who represent such constituencies deserve to be heard by the GoZ.

This report records that in the month of September there were 29 cases of violations on the freedoms of association, expression and movement. A total of 86 cases were recorded for unlawful arrest and detention against citizens who were demonstrating, attending meetings or simply belonging to an organisation that was deemed to be propagating information considered to be criminal by the police. Some of these violations were perpetrated against members of the ZCTU who had planned on holding a 2-day stay away on 19 and 20 September to protest a proclamation by President Mugabe that there would be a salary and wage freeze in 2007.

The Forum notes with deep concern the continued harassment, intimidation and torture of students in higher and tertiary education institutions by state security agents acting in concert with security officers from the different institutions. This report also details the level of victimisation that students' institutions.

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