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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Zimbabwe bishops collect data on human rights violations

The Zimbabwe bishops’ justice and peace commission is collecting information on violence and human rights abuses in dioceses across the country.

“The victims very often come to the Church to seek help and visit our hospitals, and we bring those cases to the attention of the government, so they serve as evidence of what is happening,” said Fr Frederick Chiromba, general secretary of the bishops’ conference. Also, some nongovernmental organisations have asked to visit clinics run by the Church, he said in a report by the Jesuits in Zimbabwe.

Bishop Michael Bhasera of Masvingo led a delegation of bishops at a 25th January meeting with Zimbabwe Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, the country’s defence minister and the head of its national intelligence agency to discuss the mid-January violent protests in which 12 people died.

The Harare meeting aimed “to get an understanding on what provoked this situation” and to discuss how “government and the church can collaborate so that we move beyond this situation to a Zimbabwe we want,” Fr Chiromba said.

Dialogue is “much needed” in Zimbabwe, he said, noting that “there is so much polarisation in the nation and the Church is best placed to mediate.”

Picture: Men stand behind a burning barricade during protests in Harare, Zimbabwe, on 15th January 2019. The Zimbabwe bishops’ justice and peace commission is collecting information on violence and human rights abuses in dioceses across the country. (CNS photo/Philimon Bulawayo, Reuters).