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Zimbabwe Rights Group Says Political Violence, Food Discrimination Persist

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe said Friday that peace has been restored in the country following the formation in February of a national unity government. He told Reuters in Spain that there has been substantive progress despite continued sporadic incidents.

But the Zimbabwe Peace Project in a report on conditions as recently as July says things have not improved a lot on the human rights front, saying many teachers remain fearful and some youth militia previously involved in political violence have been brought into schools to teach.

The group said that while the 1,335 human rights violations documented in July reflected a decline from 1,558 incidents in June, incidents of harassment and assault remain "disturbingly prevalent in all the 10 provinces" of the country. It added: "Also disturbing are resurfacing inclinations toward extreme forms of violence."

The group said that harassment, discrimination and violence "continue haunt the distribution of humanitarian and food assistance, as well as support of small farmers.

It also cited the "urgent need to respond to reports of lawlessness, forced labor, beatings, murder and smuggling" in the Chiadzwa diamond field of Marange district, Manicaland.

Human rights activist Clemence Moyo of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association told reporter Chris Gande of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that while the prime minister may be generally correct, there are signs violence may flare again over constitutional reform.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...