Association of Doctors for Human Rights Zimbabwe
Statement on Upsurge in Cases of Organised Violence and Torture
Since the election on March 29th, up to the end of April 14th, members of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) have seen and treated 157 cases of injury resulting from organised violence and torture. As of today April 15th, 30 of these patients remain in hospital.
One third of the patients are women, including a 15 year old girl who was abducted with her mother from her home, made to lie on her front and beaten on her buttocks. Her mother, who is pregnant, was similarly beaten. Both mother and daughter required hospital admission.
The provinces where the injuries were sustained include Manicaland, Mashonaland East and West, and Masvingo. Of the 30 hospitalised patients, 15 are from Mudzi.
The commonest injury observed was extensive soft tissue injury of the buttocks. This results from prolonged beating with a hard blunt object. The obvious visible sign is extensive bruising but there is often substantial damage to tissues under the skin including muscle. Muscle destruction of this nature can result in severe kidney problems.
Nine patients sustained fractures (broken bones), almost all of the arms (ulna and/or radius) and/or the hands (metacarpals and/or phalanges). One man, who also had multiple abrasions of his back, had fractures of both right and left radius, left ulna, and the 3rd and 4th metacarpals of his right hand. These fractures are typical of "defence injuries", resulting from the victim raising his or her hands and arms to protect the face and upper body from assault. One patient had a compound fracture of the left lower leg (tibia) resulting from assault hard blunt object, directed at all parts of his body. "Compound" means that broken bone is protruding through the skin.
ZADHR condemns the upsurge in violence recorded in the two weeks post the March 2008 Elections which has impacted severely on the individuals affected. Some of the individuals sustained injuries that can lead to severe permanent disability. We call upon:
· All political parties to cease the use of intimidation, violence and torture as a form of retribution or victimisation
· All health professionals to provide injured persons with the highest possible standard of care regardless of their political affiliation.
· SADC, the AU and the
PO Box CY 2415, Causeway
Tel: 708118, 251468