10 Jun 2020
The World Stopped, Torture Didn't: Zimbabwe sees heightened risk of torture during COVID-19

Our member, Counselling Services Unit (CSU) in Zimbabwe are deeply concerned about survivors of torture during the state of lock down enforced by the military and police. Zimbabwe has seen reports of torture against citizens by police and military which have impunity, causing a heightened risk of acts of violence against citizens.

The World Stopped, Torture Didn't: Zimbabwe sees heightened risk of torture during COVID-19

The lockdown challenges citizens in travelling and means of communication, limiting the ability to report violent incidents and intimidation by government authorities. CSU reports that this has severely increased issues of declining mental health due to military presence, generalised stress and concerns about self and family. The actual spread of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe is largely unknown. There have been a few identified cases, but the extent of the spread is uncertain with no testing facilities outside of the cities.

CSU has been busy identifying violations of citizens through volunteer community coordinators, and users of CSU’s tollfree call centres, which also enables documentation and reporting on the current satiation within high risk groups in Zimbabwe and sharing of best practices.

IRCT has also been supporting CSU counselling staff to safely attend to the call centre and to identify clients in need. Also providing phone credit for working at home to allow for ongoing rehabilitation support for survivors experiencing re-traumatization has been essential and continues to be.

 

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This story is published in conjunction with June 26, The United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. In honor of June 26 we will be highlighting the collective efforts of our movement to reach survivors of torture during the pandemic.

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