Human rights abuses on the rise — ZPP

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THE Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), a human rights watchdog, recorded a 55 percent increase in human rights violations in January 2020, as 185 cases were documented compared to 119 documented in December 2019.

According to the ZPP’s latest report, the sharp increase can be attributed to increased machete violence and human rights violations by members of the police force.

“The month of January 2020 saw an increase in reported human rights violations from 119 to 185. Harassment and intimidation were the highest recorded violations at 96. The Mashonaland Central province recorded the highest violations at 34.

“Police disturbingly occupied the second highest percentage of perpetrators, at 23,67 percent while the machete wielding gangs made up 22,2 percent of the perpetrators, an indication of the pervasive nature of the gangs,” ZPP said.

The human rights watchdog further warned that Zimbabwe is likely to see an increase in the use of machetes in criminal activities by common criminals.

“ZPP notes with concern the continued perpetration of violence by the artisanal mining terror gangs. Criminals are now capitalising on the fear that citizens have of the machete gangs to carry out robberies using the same modus operandi.

“Meanwhile, as security personnel scale up efforts to bring these mining gangs to book by sealing off their havens such as Jumbo Mine in Mazowe, the gangs have begun to move into non-mining areas, including urban areas,” ZPP said.

ZPP added that the police have a duty to put an end to the machete gangs’ reign of terror.

“Although the police have managed to arrest some of the gangs … there is need to increase the efforts so as to ensure these gangs are dealt with, once and for all,” ZPP said.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has since launched a blitz against the machete-wielding gangs, with over 2 000 people having been arrested.

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