The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCOZ), representing nonpartisan women’s rights organizations and activists in all 10 provinces of Zimbabwe,
Appreciating Government’s efforts in responding to COVID-19 threat through the 21 Day lockdown.
Recognising the role to be played by the security services sector during the 21 Day Lockdown as provided by SI 83 of 2020, and other related instruments
Deeply concerned that the legal framework only provides penalties of violations by citizens for the COVID-19 yet does not speak to the right of recourse and protections of citizens from brutality and abuse by deployed officers.
Noting that the measures pertaining to COVID-19 Lockdown have significant operational gaps which may leave citizens unduly vulnerable to security forces.
Remaining concerned on the training and guidelines for deployed security officers on gender security awareness and responsiveness. Particularly when the deployment of Security Services in the past has raised serious concerns on their ability to provide their services whilst respecting the rights of women directly.
Alive to the painful lessons drawn from the events of August 1 2018, and January 14, 2019.
WCoZ calls for the protection of citizens during the Lockdown and emphasizes the need for the State and its institutions, to protect and observe fundamental human rights and freedoms even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Every citizen has the right to life, personal security, privacy and access to information. These rights are not negotiable and cannot be tampered with.
WCoZ therefore demands that:
1. The Security Services Sector operates in accordance with the highest standard of respect for human rights, and standards of professionalism.
2. The State clarifies the scope within which the deployed members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces will operate, including:
- The level of force to be employed by enforcement officers;
- Authorisation to use arms;
- Parameters of deployment
3. The Parliament of Zimbabwe stays vigilant in exercising its mandate in terms of section 119 of the Constitution, to protect the Constitution and ensure that the State and all its institutions act constitutionally, and in the national interest.
4. The Independent Commissions, particularly, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the Zimbabwe Gender Commission, be on highest alert during these critical times in ensuring that fundamental human rights are protected and promoted.
The Media be watchful and continue to report without fear nor favour, any actions by the State, which may violate the rights of citizens.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCOZ)