Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) has condemned the harassment and assault of ordinary citizens by state security agents during the COVID-19 induced national lockdown.
In a statement, ZADHR said they continue to receive reports of assaults, harassment and other forms of intimidation on citizens alleged to have breached lockdown regulations.
“Of note is the recent flash demonstration by MDC Alliance youths in Warren Park and the subsequent arrest and abduction of 3 women demonstrators Hon. Joanah Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova,” read the statement.
ZADHR objects to the use of brute force, torture, inhumane and degrading treatment to anyone
perceived to have breached any laws related to the lockdown.
“The horrific experiences of the outlined trio are an act of cowardice and utter disregard of the law and human rights instruments such as the Convention Against Torture and the Convention of the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women,” read the statement.
ZADHR called for an urgent and independent investigation into the abduction of these three women while appealing to the the United Nations, the World Health Organization and regional bodies such as SADC and African Union to condemn these latest human rights violations.
ZADHR maintained that the COVID-19 pandemic must not provide a breeding ground for perpetuating impunity, rights violations and a disguise for crushing political dissent.
ZADHR also urged the government to provide smooth services and access to medication to people who have pre-existing conditions and other emerging health conditions as more attention is being given to COVID-19.
In the statement, ZADHR noted the decline in access to services for individuals with pre-existing and other emerging health conditions.
“Patients with chronic illnesses are finding it difficult to get resupply of medication, and they cannot be properly followed up as outpatient clinics are closed in tertiary hospitals,” read the statement.
“Operating theatres are running on limp mode, and elective surgical cases have been postponed indefinitely. This has severely affected access to health care for the majority of Zimbabwean Citizens,” read the statement.
Zimbabwe has to date recorded a total of 48 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 4 deaths from a cumulative number of tests to date standing at 32862 (18 244 RDT and 14 618 PCR).