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NGO Says Zimbabwe Rights Violations Up In February Despite Unity Government


A Zimbabwean non-governmental organization said human rights violations including political discrimination and intimidation increased in February despite the formation mid-month of a government national unity.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum reported 435 incidents in February in which human rights were violated, compared with 78 in January. It documented 110 incidents of politically inspired discrimination or intimidation, more than four times January's total of 26.

The group said some violent episodes occurred in the context of farm invasions while others related to violations of freedom of expression, association or movement.

"The formation of the inclusive government did not bring an end to civic repression as witnessed by the continued heavy-handedness with which police handled the protests that took place in the month of February," said a report issued by the group.

It added that, "The upsurge of retributive violence and violence erupting after attempts by (former opposition Movement for Democratic Change) supporters and activists to reclaim property lost to known and suspected ZANU-PF supporters during the bloody 2008 electoral period is another worrying trend that has soiled the inclusive government."

It recommended that the new unity government "should establish mechanisms to ensure reparation and justice...in order to bring about national healing."

Human Rights NGO Forum Executive Director Abel Chikomo told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that another factor in the recent violence has been retributive violence by members of the Movement for Democratic Change seeking to recover property stolen in 2008 post-election violence, or seeking to avenge past injustices.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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