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Human Rights petitions AU over Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter
15 Feb 2019 at 14:41hrs | Views
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum) has written to the African Union (AU) chairperson and Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, demanding the regional body to urgently intervene and assist in ending the crisis in Zimbabwe.

According to the letter dated February 10, 2019, the Forum's chairperson Jestina Mukoko, claimed there has been a systematic attack on people's basic rights in Zimbabwe.

"Zimbabwe as a member of the African Union is bound by the African Charter on Human and People's Rights. Zimbabweans have the right to enjoy the rights guaranteed in the African Charter. While Article 3 of the African Charter guarantees that everyone is equal before the law, and must enjoy equal protection of the law, Zimbabwe has violated this Charter by unlawfully imposing the state of emergency and deploying the military without following due process," Mukoko said.

She said to date, 800 Zimbabweans including 40 minors have been subjected to arbitrary arrests and detention without due process.

"Not only are people being arrested and detained unlawfully, but they are also being subjected to torture, inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of Article 5 of the African Charter," she said, further lamenting "increased targeting of human rights defenders".

"The health sector in Zimbabwe has collapsed as evidenced by Zimbabwe's own leaders seeking medical treatment in other countries.

"Targeting organisations providing medical services to victims of torture, assault and sexual assault is a direct violation of the right to access medical treatment enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe (Section 76) and a violation of Article 16 of the African Charter."

According to the letter, from the Forum, which is a coalition of 20 human rights organisations operating in Zimbabwe, at least 17 people were killed during the recent crackdown. The organisation claimed the majority of these people were killed by the military and the police.

"Your Excellency, there is nothing as un-African as state attacks on the family unit which is specifically protected by Article 18 of the African Charter which obliges the State to support, protect and assist the family unit in the spirit of Ubuntu.

"During the period complained of, members of the Zimbabwe National Army invaded family compounds, rounded up all males and assaulted them using rifles, sjamboks and bicycle chain. Over a period of 15 days, families were terrorised and ended up staying in the mountains," Mukoko said.

She further said the violations that they documented were so gross to an extent that they were convinced the acts constituted crimes against humanity and were in sharp contrast with what the AU stands for.

"While there may be many remedies for dealing with this attack on African lives, we believe that it is in your power and in the power of the African Union to ensure that there is justice and accountability for victims and the departed, as well as healing, reconciliation and non-occurrence for the survivors," Mukoko said.

She demanded the African Union to condemn human rights violations in Zimbabwe, deploy a fact finding mission to uncover the truth, set up a committee to investigate reports of rape of women by soldiers, call the government to end the de-facto state of emergency, ask government to cease attacks on civil society members and to assist Zimbabwe's efforts to initiate an inclusive national dialogue process.

Source - dailynews