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Mnangagwa's govt urged to embrace constitutionalism

by Staff reporter
04 Nov 2020 at 05:58hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT has been urged to protect citizens against State-sponsored abuses and to recommit to the values of good governance in order to improve people's lives.

This was said by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum in its state of human rights 2019 report which was released last week.

The report said government should have the political will to protect human rights in line with what is stipulated in the country's Constitution and international human rights protocols.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa's administration was also urged to embrace a culture of constitutionalism, human rights and respect for the rule of law.

The call came at a time the United States and the United Kingdom have threatened to slap Zimbabwe with more sanctions over government's crackdown on labour, rights activists and the opposition.

"It is important that the State leads human rights awareness initiatives as it is the primary duty bearer on promotion and protection of all human rights. More resources should be directed towards such initiatives that educate the people on their human rights entitlements," the report said.

"Non-government organisations (NGOs) should be allowed to play their supportive and complementary role to the State of spreading knowledge and awareness of human rights in Zimbabwe, without unnecessary restrictions," it said.

In his State of the Nation Address (Sona) recently, Mnangagwa said a law would soon be crafted to regulate non-governmental organisations, adding that some of them were acting in a manner which was not in sync with government programmes. The report also urged the government to train State security agents, including the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) who they said were perpetrators of gross human rights violations during the year 2019.

"The government must order the police and the army, when deployed to maintain law and order, not use excessive and unnecessary force. Those who violate human rights and policing standards and principles must be punished in accordance with the law. In the exceptional circumstances where the ZNA is required to assist the police in civilian policing, the legal process should be followed," the report said.

The report said both members of the ZNA and ZRP were responsible for the death of at least 17 people, as well 17 cases of rape and sexual violence, 26 abductions, 80 gun-related injuries, 586 assault and torture cases, 954 cases of arbitrary arrests and detentions among other human rights violations. It further stated that unarmed civilians had also suffered police and army brutality.

"During the month of August alone, 124 arrests, 18 abductions and torture and 49 assaults were documented nationally. Apart from incidents of physical violence and torture, citizens also suffered covert violence mainly driven by the deteriorating economy which affected the quality of life for citizens," the rights group said.

Source - newsday