By Alois Vinga
THOUSANDS of Zimbabwe Republic Police officers have been taken through human rights training to help them apply the skills when handling the public.
However, the recent death of a Harare vendor through alleged torture by police would be a drawback to the reported achievements of the country’s police force which has often come under fire over rights abuses and bias towards the ruling Zanu PF party.
A government report submitted to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) details progress made by the country’s policing arm of the state in the promotion and protection of human rights.
This is as per recommendations made by the ACHPR on its 2006 visit to the country.
“Training in human rights is taken as a stand-alone subject during recruit training as well as conventional courses at Police Staff College.”
The report also said human rights training is also vigorously pursued at Professional Updating Centres in respective police provinces and is included as a topic in all refresher and other courses.
Government said in 2018 alone, 45 584 police details were trained in human rights including an additional 7 220 who have been trained in 2019.
Authorities have also told ACHPR that the Zimbabwe judiciary has been consistent in condemning all practices of torture.
Says government, “This point is made clear in the celebrated case of State versus Jestina Mukoko where the judiciary reiterated that no person should be subjected to physical or psychological torture, or to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.”
Government also says that efforts have been made to date to guarantee freedoms of expression and assembly by repealing the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and Public Order and Security Act (POSA).
Authorities also said it has now become the norm to carry out public consultations prior to the enactment of laws affecting its people.