Zimbabwe: Investigate police role in the killing of two people during minibus violence

In response to allegations that Zimbabwean police shot and killed two people during clashes that were sparked by a government ban on minibus drivers entering Harare’s financial district, Amnesty International’s Zimbabwe Director, Cousin Zilala, said:

The Zimbabwean government must immediately instruct the police to show restraint and refrain from using excessive force, in particular against unarmed protesters
Cousin Zilala, Amnesty International’s Zimbabwe Director

“The Zimbabwean government must immediately instruct the police to show restraint and refrain from using excessive force, in particular against unarmed protesters. The authorities must promptly order an independent and impartial investigation into the killings, and prosecute any police officers proven responsible for unlawful actions or human rights violations.

“Zimbabweans have a right to go about their daily lives without the threat of unnecessary or excessive force from the police, who have a duty to act with caution in all confrontational situations, in order to protect lives.

The authorities must promptly order an independent and impartial investigation into the killings, and prosecute any police officers proven responsible for unlawful actions or human rights violations
Cousin Zilala

“Under international law and standards, law enforcement officials must only resort to the use of force where unavoidable, in a manner that is proportionate to the seriousness of the situation. Firearms may only be used in self-defence or the defence of others from imminent threat or serious injury.”

Background

On Thursday 22 February, Zimbabwean police began enforcing a ban by local authorities on minibuses dropping off commuters in Harare’s Commercial Business District, a move aimed at “decongesting” the city.

The Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing later issued orders to halt the operation, sparking confusion that resulted in violence breaking out between the police, minibus operators and members of the public.