Rights group urges probe into Rusape school fiasco

Source: Rights group urges probe into Rusape school fiasco -Newsday Zimbabwe

HUMAN rights lobby group, Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) has called for an urgent investigation into the incident at St Faith’s High School in Rusape, where the police allegedly set dogs on students engaged in a peaceful demonstration.

The schoolchildren marched for 13km to the Makoni district schools inspector’s office in Rusape town last week waving placards after the Anglican church-run institution demanded US$600 as mission fund.

Some of the protesting students were smoking and appeared intoxicated.

The organisation has demanded the “immediate investigation into this incident at St Faith’s to establish the full extent of the harm caused by police brutality and the identity of the perpetrators. Following the establishment of the truth, perpetrators must be held accountable without further delay”.

ZimRights said the Primary and Secondary Education ministry should ensure that all institutions of learning are safe from any form of violence, especially State violence against students.

The group urged St Faith’s High School authorities to review their grievance handling processes to accord students an opportunity for redress of any complaints that may arise.

ZimRights said this incident represented a grave violation of fundamental human rights, including the right to freedom to demonstrate and petition enshrined in section 58 of the Constitution.

“The use of force, particularly against students exercising their right to protest, is unacceptable and undermines the principles of justice and democracy,” the rights watchdog added.

The organisation said schools were communities of learning and knowledge and should not be turned into war zones through the deployment of State violence.

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