NGO Forum in AU Rights Commission plea to help end Zim govt-doctors impasse

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By Staff Reporter

A TOP rights group has written to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights pleading for the continental rights promoter’s intervention into the Zimbabwean government’s drawn-out impasse with striking public hospital doctors.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum Friday wrote to the Commission highlighting alleged violations by the Zimbabwean authorities against citizens.

The group said Zimbabwe was still far from any realisation of basic human rights as witnessed by ongoing arrests, abductions and torture on those holding dissenting voices in Zimbabwe.

The Forum also said the Zanu PF led government has banned protests by the opposition and further criminalised lawful NGO activities.

Among some of its calls to the Commission, the NGO Forum urged the Commission’s intervention into the doctors’ impasse with government.

“Madam chairperson,” said the NGO Forum, “the current economic crisis in Zimbabwe has resulted in the erosion of income and decline of livelihood of majority of citizens. The healthcare system is in a deplorable state.

“This has been compounded by the failure by government to come up with a durable solution aimed at addressing the genuine concerns by medical professionals.

“Medical professionals withdrew their services for close to two months now, citing poor conditions of service, shortage of drugs and equipment, including consumables such as safety wear.

“This current deadlock has a tremendous effect on the ability by majority of citizens to access health care, thereby posing a huge threat on the right to life.”

Added the Forum, “Honourable chairperson, it is regrettable that the Government of Zimbabwe, instead of focusing on adopting measures aimed at resolving these challenges, it has invested the much-needed resources into repression.

“…We urge the Commission to encourage the Government of Zimbabwe to invest in genuine dialogue with its citizens in order to come up with a lasting solution to this crisis.

“We request the Honourable Commission to call upon the Government of Zimbabwe to respect, protect and fulfil its obligations under the Charter, and in particular to… adopt effective measures to resolve the current impasse with the medical personnel to ensure access to healthcare facilities by citizens.”

Zimbabwean doctors have rejected government orders to return to work while their grievances were being looked into.

The doctors have adamantly refused to report for work, insisting they were financially incapacitated to go to work.