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Can Zimbabwe Compensate Victims of Political Violence?

Political violence usually grips Zimbabwe ahead of general elections.

Political violence usually grips Zimbabwe ahead of general elections.

Every year on March 24th, millions of people around the world join the United Nations in commemorating International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims.

The purpose of the Day is to honor the memory of victims of gross and systematic human rights violations and promote the importance of the right to truth and justice and pay tribute to those who have devoted their lives to, and lost their lives in, the struggle to promote and protect human rights for all.

It is also designed to recognize, in particular, the important work and values of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, of El Salvador, who was assassinated on March 24, 1980, after denouncing violations of the human rights of the most vulnerable populations and defending the principles of protecting lives, promoting human dignity and opposition to all forms of violence.

In his message to mark the day, United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, said, “On this day, I urge states to adopt measures to promote truth, justice and reparations for victims, which is so crucial to ensuring that gross human rights violations are not repeated. Let us all do more to protect human rights and human dignity."

Alouise Mutanga, director of the Association of the Victims of Political Violence based in South Africa, said rehabilitation and compensation is needed for victims of political violence.

“We need to be compensated because some victims’ houses were taken, some victims’ houses were destroyed because we supported the opposition. Some people were chased away from their homes by their headmen especially in the rural areas. Discrimination and victimization must end. We have not received food aid from government, we are struggling.”

Some of the victims of violence include people in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces who were killed, maimed and displaced by a crack army unit trained by the communist North Korean government.