On the Days of Darkness in Zimbabwe

An Updated Report on the Human Rights Violations Committed Between 14 January, 2019 to 5 February, 2019

On 12 January, 2019, President Mnangagwa announced during a press conference that the fuel prices would increase to $3.11 per litre for diesel and $3.31 per litre for petrol due to the increased demand for fuel, and illegal black market. Following the announcement by President Mnangagwa, the Forum deployed monitors on 13 January to monitor citizen reactions to the fuel price increase.  Our monitors visited Chitungwiza, Kuwadzana, and Harare CBD. The environment was recorded as tense, with one incident of citizens protesting through creating a roadblock in Kuwadzana. The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and #ThisFlag movement called for a 3-day national stay away from 14 – 16 January, 2019 in response to the fuel crisis.  On the day of the stay-away, protests broke out mainly in Chitungwiza, Bulawayo and Harare’s high density suburbs leading to clashes between the police and the protestors. What followed was a ‘de facto’ state of emergency.  In unclear circumstances, the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) was unlawfully deployed into the streets and residential areas where they unleashed a reign of terror on anyone they came across. This report details at least 1803 violations committed since January 14, 2019, across the whole country.

The violations of human rights that started as the state’s response to mass protests on 14 January, 2019 following the increase in fuel prices immediately took a widespread systematic character, the dominant actors being the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and suspected ZANU-PF militia.  The systematic and sustained nature of the violations raises fear that this is becoming a case of crimes against humanity.  Over the past three weeks, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum) has documented at least 1803 violations of human rights, the ZNA and ZRP being implicated in all categories of violations. The figures have since increased since the last report by the Forum released on 18 January 2019, as additional and fresh reports were documented.  To date, the violations include at least 17 extra-judicial killings[1], 17 cases of rape or other violations of a sexual nature, 26 abductions, 61 displacements, 81 assaults consistent with gunshot attacks, at least 586 assaults and torture, inhuman and degrading treatment  including dog bites, 954 arrests and detention (including dragnet arrests), among other violations.

Shutdown Atrocities Report 6 February 2019

[1] Extrajudicial executions are unlawful and deliberate killings, carried out by order  of a government or with its complicity or acquiescence. It includes killings by officers performing law enforcement functions but involving a disproportionate use of force to any threat posed, see Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, Recommended by Economic and Social Council resolution 1989/65 of 24 May 1989 1, https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/ProfessionalInterest/executions.pdf, Principle 1.

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