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CUPE has written to police officials in Harare, Zimbabwe, after getting Amnesty International reports of the torture of members of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ). The letter called on the officials to bring the criminals to justice and provide future protection for trade unionists.

AI suspects that these acts of violence, perpetrated on February 19 in Harare, were the work of members of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party.

The trade unionists are defenders of human rights in Zimbabwe, said AI. They were abducted while attempting to address the right to education for all Zimbabweans. AI says it is the second such incident in three months.

“We call on you to ensure that all police officers under your command cease all intimidation, torture and ill treatment of trade unionists and other human rights defenders and political activists, the CUPE letter said.

Section 15 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe outlaws torture and that under international law the government of Zimbabwe is obliged to criminalize and prosecute all acts of torture.

A second letter of solidarity was sent to the PTUZ.

CLC calls for police restraint

In a similar letter to the same police officials, the Canadian Labour Congress urged them to “ensure that police officers under your command act in a manner that is consistent with regional and international standards of police conduct, including the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Co-operation Organization (SARPCCO), Code of Conduct for Police Officials, the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, and the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment.”