Human rights situation in Zimbabwe deteriorated in 2006

The year 2006 saw a continued rise in the violations of freedoms of association, expression, assembly and movement. 2006 was markedly worse than 2005 as regards violations of these freedoms. There was a shift from the use of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Miscellaneous Offences Act (MOA) to the use of the Criminal Law Codification Act, which is just as notorious. These Acts have been used to take away the rights to freedom of expression, association, assembly and movement.

Students demonstrated throughout the year against the tuition fee hikes at higher and tertiary education institutions and they were met by brute force from the police as shall be seen in this report. The Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), Zimbabwe Council of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and other organizations continued to demonstrate, in spite of the brute force, assault, torture, intimidation and general repression they met from the police and other agents of the state.

The use of torture was widespread in 2006. The torture of students from Bindura State University and the ZCTU demonstrators in May and September respectively dealt a huge blow to civil society and for the respect for and protection of human rights in Zimbabwe.

In 2006 Government declared its intention to set up a Human Rights Commission for Zimbabwe. This met with strong criticism from civil society, which reiterated the necessity for the adherence to international human rights instruments and the Paris Principles.

This report proffers a comparative analysis between the two years, 2005 and 2006. It is sad to note from the findings that the human rights situation in Zimbabwe continued to decline in 2006. The Human Rights NGO Forum urges Government to take seriously and adhere to international human rights treaties to which it is a party.

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