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Zimbabwe Police, Soldiers Urged to Attend Human Rights Workshops

Police in Zimbabwe block protesters demanding the return of women stranded in Kuwait. (Photo: Mavis Gama)

Some Zimbabweans attending an outreach meeting convened by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission say the organization should engage the police and Zimbabwe National Army, which are alleged to be the top human rights violators in the country.

Speaking at the gathering Thursday in Chinhoyi, local resident Cleopatra Mubvumbi, said the Commission should ensure that these state institutions need to clearly know their limits in handling members of the public.

His sentiments were echoed by another local participant, political activist Tendai Musonza, who added that members of the police and the army need basic education in human rights issues.

One of the commissioners, Petuna Chiriseri, told the meeting that they are also worried about police brutality.

Chiriseri said the Commission has already engaged Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri about the beating up of war vets and demonstrators last month by the police.

Chiriseri said the issue of brutality being perpetrated by uniformed forces has come up in almost all outreach meeting, which have been conducted by the Commission.

He said the Commission is in the process of rolling out an outreach program targeted at the uniformed forces, community leaders and students.

Mrs. Karukai Ratsauka, chief human rights officer of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, said the organization has taken over the work of the Ombudsman.

Chiriseri urged Zimbabweans not to concentrate only on political rights but to other rights like rights to food, water, education and health.

Some residents questioned the independence of the institution considering that commissioners are appointed by President Robert Mugabe, whose Zanu PF party members are accused of allegedly perpetrating violence against opposition activists.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, which was created by the new constitution in 2010, has not been functional due to lack of resources.

So far 482 cases of human rights violations have been brought before the Commission.

Report on Human Rights Abuses Filed By Arthur Chigoriwa
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