Amnesty International has condemned the use of lockdown regulations by Zimbabwean police to silence health workers and other activists who are legally demonstrating against poor remuneration and poor working conditions.
In a statement, Amnesty International called on authorities to drop charges against health care workers for demanding better wages.
This comes after 13 nurses were arrested on charges of contravening lockdown regulations after they held a demonstration against poor working conditions.
“Zimbabwean authorities are arbitrarily using lockdown regulations to silence medical professionals and activists. The nurses were simply expressing their frustrations with their employer over the failure to address low salaries and longstanding poor working conditions.
“This, like other labour disputes currently unfolding in Zimbabwe, is a result of the neglect of health care services and the failure by the government to provide adequate remuneration,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa
Mwananyanda urged Zimbabwean authorities to stop intimidating, harassing and suppressing dissent and instead start listening to the genuine concerns of healthcare workers.
The Zimbabwe Republic police on Monday arrested 13 nurses at Sally Mugabe Hospital on allegations of contravening section 8(3)(a) of the Public Health (COVID 19 Prevention, Containment & Treatment Regulations).
The nurses were planning to have a feedback meeting on their current labor dispute with their employer over low salaries and poor working conditions.
“The right to just and favorable conditions of work is enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Zimbabwe is a party. It includes the right to fair wages, equal pay for work of equal value, safe and healthy working conditions, reasonable limitations on working hours, protections for workers during and after pregnancy, and equality of treatment in employment,” added Amnesty International.