Saturday, April 14, 2007

Rights groups track assults on Zim

".....The human-rights advocate, who is not an opposition-party member, estimated that the documented attacks could represent as little as one-fifth of all beatings, because many victims were afraid to report them.

"It's very structured," said the advocate, who declined to be named for fear of retaliation. "They know exactly what they're doing and who they're going after. People are told not to seek medical treatment. They don't come to us and tell what happened, because they're simply terrified."

On Friday the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights issued its own statement on the attacks, saying it had documented 48 hospitalizations and more than 175 lesser medical treatments for assaults in the past month alone. The association is nonpartisan and does not attempt to identify the political affiliations of the victims.

The chairman, of the group Dr. Douglas Gwatidzo, said in an interview Friday that the attacks seemed to have peaked in late March, but that they had continued steadily, albeit at a lesser rate, since then.

"It's a continuous level of attacks, without an increase or decrease," he said. "We see maybe three or four a day coming into hospital. But that's not a reflection of what's happening on the ground."

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