A LEGISLATIVE watchdog, Veritas, has urged Zimbabweans to report rights violations by the police or army personnel to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), as authorities are dragging their feet to set up a special committee to investigate misconduct by members of the security sector.
Source: Report rights violations by police, army to ZHRC: Watchdog – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 16, 2016
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
According to Section 210 of the Constitution, government is supposed to enact legislation allowing the setting up of a special committee to investigate reports of rights violations by police and others in the security services.
Veritas made an application for the committee to be set up and the matter was heard by the Constitutional Court in January this year, but judgment on the case has not been made as yet.
The lawyer grouping said in the absence of a special mechanism under Section 210, the ZHRC “seems an eminently satisfactory alternative for dealing with complaints of misconduct on the part of members of the security services”.
“People, who claim that their rights were violated by police officers or army personnel, and those who seek to uphold the rights of such victims, should lodge formal complaints with the commission,” Veritas said in a commentary.
“The complaints should contain details of when and where the alleged violations took place, the names of the alleged victims, and where possible information that may identify the perpetrators.”
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights on Tuesday began investigations into police brutality against residents of Burombo Flats, Makokoba in Bulawayo, on charges of staging anti-government protests and looting shops last Wednesday.
“Only if such complaints are lodged can the Commission carry out its constitutional functions of upholding human rights and freedoms — in this case the right of peaceful demonstration protected by Section 59 of the Constitution.”
The call to report rights abuses to the ZHRC comes amid anger against police brutality against protesters during last week’s stay away.
Hundreds were severely beaten across the country, and also detained.
Videos of police brutality have been circulating, but police authorities have argued they are fake.
Last week, the Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights warned police officers photographed beating protesters will be held personally accountable in future.