Human rights in Zimbabwe continue to be ignored

SIR – I refer to your article on the fight for human rights in Zimbabwe. I am from Zimbabwe and would like to express my concern at the continued violation of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum reports that between January and

SIR - I refer to your article on the fight for human rights in Zimbabwe. I am from Zimbabwe and would like to express my concern at the continued violation of human rights in Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum reports that between January and April 2009, there were nearly 900 cases of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

Almost 250 people were either assaulted for political reasons and/or faced political discrimination or victimisation.

Close to 200 people were unlawfully arrested and close to 200 people were unlawfully detained. Those who were assaulted were from the media, political opposition, civil society or human rights organisations.


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Another concern is that the health sector has more or less collapsed.

Zimbabwe now has the lowest life expectancies in the world.

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Over 3,000 people die every week.

Cholera deaths have now exceeded 4,000. The reported cases of cholera are over 90,000.

At the end of 2008, three of Zimbabwe's major hospitals had been closed. The fourth one offered limited services. Basic drugs were scarce.

The educational situation is a national disaster.

Education is underfunded and children no longer get quality education.

As of February 2009, 94 per cent of rural schools were shut down because teachers could not afford to report for duty. Currently 30 pupils share one textbook in schools.

It is therefore sad that in this era of highly democratic societies, Zimbabwe still has unelected dictators as its leaders, in power for almost 30 years.

These people take pride in calling themselves leaders of a country where poverty and unemployment are endemic.

The unemployment rate is 94 per cent. The inflation rate, at one time, peaked to an alarming 230million per cent.

People live in poverty.

At the end of 2008, most general workers were paid about US60cents and nurses got US12cents, per month. This is beyond human dignity.

Evidence shows that the human rights situation continues to deteriorate, despite the presence of a unity government. In my opinion, the unity government has not helped much.

So we continue to fight for the restoration of all facets of human rights in Zimbabwe, thanks to all who support us.

We need to get back our rights to shelter, food, education and health.

We need freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of movement and freedom of assembly.

These rights do not exist now in Zimbabwe.

Ruth Chigume,

Activist and Member of ROHR (Zimbabwe)

WGC.

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