Police deny human rights commission access to protesters’ data


The Zimbabwe Republic Police(ZRP) reportedly  denied Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission access to information and statistics on the protesters who allegedly caused havoc last week.

Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, whose mandate is to promote, protect and enforce human rights and fundamental freedoms in Zimbabwe, reported that when they visited Harare Central Police Station, officers in charge denied them relevant information or entry into the holding cells.

“The ZHRC teams visited local police stations during the monitoring visits as the first port of call to get a brief on the situation. One of the Commission teams also sought to monitor and inspect the Harare Central Police Station and to interact with detained persons. Unfortunately, the police officers in charge did not seem to understand the mandate of the ZHRC and after referring the officers to different police officials, denied them the relevant information or entry into the holding cells,” the report read.

Unlike in other inquiries where police officers were giving information, ZHRC reported that police officers were unwilling to cooperate and kept referring all questions to the Officer Commanding Harare Province.

“Interaction with human rights lawyers representing the accused persons revealed that the accused persons had been held for periods exceeding 48 hours and that juveniles were being mixed with adults in holding cells against international human rights law and standards.  Unlike in other previous ZHRC engagements with the ZRP, the Police officers were not forthcoming with information and referred all questions to the Officer Commanding Harare Province, who over two days was said to be out of office in a series of meetings.”  

In their report, ZHRC stated that most of the witness they spoke to mentioned that they were severely beaten by the soldiers and the police.

“Complainants and witnesses who spoke to the ZHRC highlighted that armed soldiers and police visited their homes starting the evening of Monday 14 January 2019. They reported a heavy crackdown characterized by indiscriminate and severe beatings. The ZHRC also made home visits to some of those who were assaulted by the police and soldiers,” ZHRC reported.

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