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Statement on the outbreak of violence and selective application
of the law
Rights NGO Forum
February 11, 2011
Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum) unreservedly condemns in the
strongest terms the violence that has erupted in parts of the country,
especially in Harare, barely a week after the signing of the Declaration
condemning political violence in which the Principals to the Global
Political Agreement concurred that it is within the scope of
their power to end violence. While we welcome the signing of the
Declaration condemning political violence we are highly concerned
that this "positive" step has remained meaningless as
evidenced by the resurgence of violence.
The Forum believes hate
messages from officials and some sections of the media as well as
pronouncements on elections have fuelled the resurgence of violence.
It has been reported that ZANU-PF youths are moving around assaulting
perceived and known MDC supporters. This has resulted in violent
clashes between the MDC and ZANU PF youths in areas such as Harare,
Bindura, Gutu, Bikita and Chitungwiza. These clashes have reportedly
resulted in the destruction of property, injuries and displacement
of people. This unruly behaviour by ZANU-PF supporters is a cause
for concern and is contrary to the spirit of national healing stipulated
in the Global Political Agreement.
The Forum is equally
disturbed by, and condemns allegations of partisanship and selective
application of the law by police officers in the discharge of their
duties. There are instances where the police have arrested members
of the MDC only even when the police itself admitted that ZANU PF
was involved in the violence. Police officers have also reportedly
arrested and assaulted the victims instead of the perpetrators.
The Forum deplores such behaviour by the police and implores all
uniformed forces to be professional and impartial, and desist from
using torture during investigations. The behaviour of the police
is contrary to Article XIII of the Global Political Agreement, which
states that all "state organs should be impartial in the discharge
of their duties."
The Forum is also deeply
concerned about the continued abuse of jobless youths by party leaders.
We urge political leaders to stop abusing youths as political tools
who are paid to instill fear in the public ahead of elections. The
Forum also implores the parties to the GPA to promote the values
and principles of tolerance and to do everything possible to stop
and prevent all forms of political violence.
We will continue to expose
any incidences of violence occurring in any part of the country.
Those who perpetrate violence, sponsor and/or collude in its execution
shall also be exposed and held accountable.
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