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90% Gukurahundi survivors suffer mental health, rights commission report says

by Staff reporter
09 Jun 2022 at 08:33hrs | Views
Approximately 90% survivors of the early 1980s Matabeleland and Midlands state sponsored atrocities, commonly referred to as Gukurahundi, are suffering from mental health impairments caused by trauma, a Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission inquiry has revealed.

This came in Harare Wednesday during a brief ceremony in which the human rights body unveiled a partnership with the European Union and Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law to strengthen its capacity to monitor the observance of human rights in Zimbabwe with particular emphasis on access to national documentation among citizens.

The launch was attended by ZHRC chairman Elasto Mugwadi and fellow commissioners, EU Head of Delegation in Zimbabwe Timo Olkonnen as well as RWI deputy director Rolf Ring.

A handful government officials, activists from rights based civil society groups and representatives from social development organisations also witnessed the event.

A lot of Zimbabweans have been finding it hard to access national documents due to various reasons such as steep registration fees, transports costs and corruption among government officials charged with the responsibility of issuing out the crucial documents.

To date, acquiring a passport in the country is a mammoth task and only those who have enough foreign currency can obtain the much sought after document.

The report said some of those who were affected by Gukurahundi in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces still did not have birth certificates because they felt intimidated by authorities.

"Adverse effects on accessing national documents such as birth and death certificates are still being experienced.

"In cases where witnesses were required to support application of documentation, many are often scared to testify about the death of their relatives for the fear of the unknown," read the report.

A lot of Gukurahundi survivors who lost national identity documents during the dark episode are unable to replace them.

Further read the report, "Some Gukurahundi affected persons are reluctant to participate in the mobile registration exercises as it reminds them of Gukurahundi events resulting in the suffering from mental health."

Government has embarked on a mobile registration blitz across the country ahead of harmonised elections scheduled for next year, but the exercise, according to the report, is having a fair share of resistance in Matabeleland where thousands of people were killed under a military operation sanctioned by government ostensibly to track down army deserters who were terrorising civilians in affected regions.

Source - zimlive