ZCTU seeks UN rights arm’s intervention into Zim labour based abuses

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By Staff Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has written to the United Nations Rapporteur on the Right to Freedom of Association and Assembly seeking intervention into what it says was a deteriorating human rights situation in Zimbabwe.

In a letter dated October 25, ZCTU secretary general Japhet Moyo said since the beginning of the year, authorities in Zimbabwe have intensified their clampdown on labour based activities through routine harassments on union leaders while peaceful protests have also been crushed by the state.

“We write to you concerning the deteriorating human rights situation in Zimbabwe with regards to freedom of association and of peaceful assembly,” Moyo said in the letter.

“On October 11, 2018 the government of Zimbabwe, through the ZRP cordoned, blocked and arrested, brutalised, intimidated, harassed and imprisoned workers who intended to engage in a protest action against increased taxation.”

The ZCTU chief also attached video footage of him and the main labour group’s president Peter Mutasa being harassed and bundled onto police trucks after their offices had been sealed off in Harare to stop what had been planned demonstrations against rising poverty.

On the day, ZCTU had planned a demonstration to protest Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s controversial decision to introduce a 2 percent levy all electronic transfers by locals.

Mutasa and his six other party leaders were detained in police custody over two nights and later granted $50 bail each after being charged for allegedly participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence.

But Moyo said at least 43 ZCTU activists were awaiting trial across the country over the foiled protests.

In his letter, Moyo also cited a number of recent state abuses among them the August 1 killing of six civilians when the army deployed to quell post-electoral demonstrations fired live bullets at protesters and by-standers.