Statement by PHM South Africa on current human rights situation in Zimbabwe

The People’s Health Movement of South Africa ( notes with deep concern the reports of denial of access to emergency health care for people injured following protests against the Zimbabwe government’s recent fuel price hikes. Security forces have treated peaceful protests, which are protected as a human right for people across the world, with violent repression, and have aggravated such action by denying access to health care to those injured as a result of the response to the protest. Not only is this as act contrary to basic health principles, but it violates Zimbabwe’s own constitution, which compels the State to “take appropriate, fair and reasonable measures to ensure that no person is refused emergency medical treatment at any health institution.”

More than 20 years after the UN noted “reports of excessive use of force by the police and the army during food riots” and urged the independent investigation and prosecution of involved officers, President Mnangagwa’s government continues to use Mugabe’s tactics in crushing legitimate forms of protest. The denial of basic human rights, and, in particular, the right to health care is a blot on Mnangagwa’s regime.

We express our solidarity with health workers willing to provide professional and ethical care to patients in the face of police violence and interference in the delivery of essential care to patients. We pledge our support to health workers who work tirelessly in the interest of their patients’ health and well-being, as part of their commitment to realising their patients’ human rights, including the right to health.

We urge civil society organisations and health professionals around the world to denounce this repression and the violation of the right to health. We call for solidarity with those standing up for justice, human rights and health in Zimbabwe.