Human Rights Lobby Group Condemns Police Brutality On MDC Supporters

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum says it is disturbed by violent conduct of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers against civilians on Wednesday which left scores of people injured.

The police moved in to indiscriminately beat up opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) who had gathered at the party headquarters in Harare for the Hope of the Nation Address (HONA) by the party president Nelson Chamisa.

Some officers even kicked the supporters while tear gas was fired to disperse the crowd.

In a statement, the human rights group described the brutality as unacceptable in any civilised society and implored the police force to abide by the constitution.

“The conduct of the police is deplorable and is contrary to the rhetoric of the government of Zimbabwe on promoting and protecting human rights.

“Section 44 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe obliges the State and every person, including juristic persons, and every institution and agency of the government at every level to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights and freedoms set out in the Constitution,” reads the statement.

Recently, the government of Zimbabwe presented to the United Nations and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights that its police officers have gone through human rights training.

However, the forum believes this was just a smokescreen as the conduct of the police speaks otherwise.

“Clearly, the conduct of the police, in this case, did not reflect a police service that is human rights conscious and has undergone any training.

“While the Forum acknowledges that the State has an obligation to maintain public order to prevent social disruption, damage to property, injury and loss of life, a clear set of international human rights law standards has been developed in respect to the use of force by law enforcement officials,” said the Forum.

It further called on the incident to be investigated and officers fingered to be brought to book.

What this incident tells us is that as a nation we have learnt nothing from the past and are not willing to undertake the reforms necessary to build a peaceful society”

This is the latest show of force by the police as the government recently, reported to the African Commission of their intention to implement the recommendation of the Motlanthe Commission.

In its report after the August 1, 2018, post-election crackdown by the Zimbabwe National Army, the Commission made recommendations for the law enforcement agents to be capacitated to handle protests in a way that does not see a recurrence of the August 1 killings and assaults where six innocent civilians were killed.

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