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South African Doctors Accuse Harare Of Medical Rights Violations

The South African Medical Association this week condemned what it characterized as state-sanctioned human rights violations in Zimbabwe, saying doctors in the country are being “victimized and prevented from treating political victims."

The association statement said doctors everywhere must be allowed to treat patients in need of medical attention, and to practice medicine without the fear of violence.

Hospital doctors in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare and the eastern city of Mutare estimated recently that they have treated some 600 victims of a continuing campaign of political violence against opposition political and civic activists. Opposition officials say the campaign is being waged by police, military and ruling party youth militia.

Association Chairman Kgosi Letlape told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that recent events in the country lead his group to conclude Harare has failed to live up to its international pledges to respect human rights.

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights expressed concern at delays by police in bringing victims of beatings and torture to hospitals for treatment.

Dr. Douglas Gwatidzo, chairman of the association, said such delays and the nature of the injuries sustained by opposition activists while in the custody of state security agents, further complicate the treatment process.

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