Subject: Statement on the Arrest and Continued Harassment of Students in Zimbabwe
Statement on the Arrest and Continued Harassment of Students in Zimbabwe
15th February, 2007 am
The International Union of Students is deeply concerned about the continued harassment and victimization of students and their leaders by the Zimbabwean government, its agents and supporters. In the past week alone, 74 students and their leaders were rounded up, assaulted and detained under Zimbabwe’s version of the colonial punitive detention law, the Public Order and Security Act.
At the time of writing this statement, we have just learnt that the national President of our member organization, Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) and eleven of ZINASU general council members remain locked up under humiliating conditions in lice infested jail cells, with no clear charges being brought against them.
ZINASU has been engaged in struggles for increased access to quality education, and for respect of academic and educational freedoms. Education plays a critical role in addressing issues of social and economic development. Poverty, disease and ignorance and their consequences in the developmental challenges of Zimbabwe depend on an enlightened and educated population for their redress.
The Zimbabwean government is amongst the few countries which continue to spend less on health and education per capita than on military and security. According to the UNDP, Zimbabwe’s national budget has for the past seven years been heavily militarized. It is in this context that ZINASU launched its campaign for more state investments in the future of the country than on its destruction.
We call on the Zimbabwean government to release ZINASU leaders and other student activists and put a stop on the punitive detention of activists. The Harare government should engage the student movement in seeking ways and strategies for addressing issues of provision and access to quality education. Spending more on jails and jail guards will not stop the moral demand for the right to learn. As the IUS, we demand that:
- The immediate release of all students and their leaders currently, and likely to be detained as a result of their demand to learn
- A stop by the Government of Zimbabwe on organized acts of terror against ZINASU and its members
- An investigation and prosecution of those agents and supporters of the Zimbabwean government who have been involved in assaulting and torturing ZINASU leaders and their members
- The Zimbabwean government to spent more on meeting the social security needs of Zimbabweans, including proving access to quality education than on military and the repressive apparatus of the state
We join ZINASU in their campaign and share our solidarity with them in their time of testing struggle.
In solidarity and Struggle
Out-going Africa Regional Secretary