Petition to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and the Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC).
African Union Commission
SADC Gender Commission
Ministry of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Home Affairs
SUBJECT: ENDING ATROCITIES AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN AND ENFORCING ACCOUNTABILITY FOR VIOLATIONS.
WE, the undersigned organizations;
*Concerned* about the abuse of women by security forces that are deployed across the country,
*Worried* about the lack of secure, safe and sensitive mechanisms to handle the rape and abuse of women by security forces,
*Determined* to ensure justice for the victims of rape and other abuses.
Make this petition to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and the Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC).
1. On or around 14 January 2019, armed soldiers, police and intelligence agents were deployed in residential areas during the national shutdown protests.
2. The deployments turned out to be a premeditated clampdown on residents of major cities and towns where the protests against rising cost of living had occurred.
3. The security forces went door to door, torturing and assaulting people. Some of these abuses were noted by the ZHRC in its report.
4. Women were not spared in these large scale human rights violations by security forces.
5. Dozens of women were raped and sexually assaulted by members of the army.
6. Hundreds of women were also arbitrarily arrested and arraigned in fast track trials that disregarded all their rights. To date two women have been convicted on charges of public violence in trials that were rushed without following proper trial procedures.
8. The Government of Zimbabwe has not made any steps to address this problem and instead is accusing the victims of rape and other abuses of lying. This shows that the State is bent on covering up the atrocities.
9. It is inconceivable that the police asks the victims of police and army brutality to report to the police so that the police (perpetrators) can arrest the perpetrators.
WE the petitioners demand the following:
1. The ZHRC and ZGC carry out investigations into the issues of rape and abuse of women and children by the security forces. This investigation should also look into the denial of the right to a fair trial for women facing charges related to the Shutdown protests.
2. The ZHRC and ZGC provide a safe and secure platform for women’s organizations to submit evidence of the crimes committed by the security forces.
3. The Independent Commissions that support democracy must call for the immediate withdrawal of soldiers from residential areas and streets.
4. The Independent Commissions push for justice for the victims of the military crackdown including demanding the arrest of all perpetrators, provision of reparation and compensation by the Government to families who lost their loved ones.
5. All perpetrators should be held to account and barred from working in the security sector.
6. The ZHRC and ZGC push for the immediate setting up an Independent Complaints Mechanism in terms of section 210 of the Constitution which allows members of the public to lodge complaints against members of the security sector.
We your petitioners pray that you will undertake our demands.
1) Women’s Academy For Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE)
2) Female Prisoners Support Trust (FEMPRIST)
3) Justice For Women Zimbabwe (JWZ)