THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) says it has recorded 1 290 human rights violation since the beginning of the year.
The figure doubled from 438 in July this year, highlighting a worrying trend of human rights violations especially during elections.
Speaking during commemorations of International Day of Human Rights, ZHRC deputy secretary for programmes Vengesai Erick Mukutiri said the majority of cases were still under investigation.
“Just for this year from January to date, we received so many cases and we have grouped them into two. We have received 808 cases of human rights abuses and then for administrative justice it’s 432. So these are receiving attention at different levels of investigation.
“The first stage is to assess whether we have a mandate or the best institution to address the issue. During this election year, political rights issues dominated from the issues that we were dealing with, including court cases, and issues to do with agricultural inputs. So, the commission managed to deal with these issues made make sure that we hold the public officials accountable,” Mukutiri said.
He said most cases were recorded in Mashonaland West, Manicaland, and Matabeleland provinces.
ZHRC chairperson Elasto Mugwadi raised concern over the country’s elections which are always marred by political intolerance and polarisation.
“Much remains to be done to improve the human rights situation in the country and to ensure that a culture of human rights becomes ingrained in our society. In particular, the commission notes that the polarisation and intolerance of divergent political views persist in our country, characterised by incidents of violence as the country is holding by-elections a few months after harmonised elections,” Mugwadi said.
He urged responsible authorities to respect and act on ZHRC recommendations.
Mugwadi said there was need for alignment of some pieces of legislation impacting human rights including the Zimbabwe Human Rights Act to the Constitution.
Amnesty International recently said there has been no respect for human rights in the country for the past five years, adding that authorities have exhibited a “brazen contempt for basic freedoms and shown that there is no space for dissent in the so-called second republic”.
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