Generations Face Unlawfulness After Zimbabwe Massacre

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Children of Zimbabwean victims of a massacre decades ago are being subjected to further unlawfulness by being deprived of citizenship rights, a study has found

In the 1980s, Zimbabwe’s then-leader Robert Mugabe initiated a brutal crackdown on a revolt in Matabeleland.

The troops killed an estimated 20,000 people, mostly from the Ndebele minority, in what became known as the Gukurahundi massacres.

Some of those killed disappeared and were not declared dead, meaning there were no death certificates issued by the government, the study by the Zimbabwe Peace Project noted.

It says that children of these victims have suffered from statelessness as they cannot obtain identity documents – including a birth certificate and a passport.

“Without a death certificate of a parent it’s not possible for a child to be able to get a birth certificate, and without a birth certificate a child cannot get an identity document,” Jestina Mukoko, the director of the project, told the Leakblast.com Newsday radio programme.

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She says there are a “huge number” of Zimbabwean people – the children and grandchildren of massacre victims – who have been deprived of their rights including the right to vote as a result.

Ms Mukoko says some who cross into neighbouring countries in search of jobs have become stateless as they have no papers – which is in turn affecting their children.

She told the Leakblast.com that while the state had an alternative mechanism where they could register, the process required them to travel with witnesses to areas far from their home and many could not afford to pay for it.

Besides, the people also felt intimidated and afraid to go through the process, she said.

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