UPDATE 7/31/2015: The 16 vendors were released on $50 bail each on July 30. Charges against them remain.
(Johannesburg) – Police in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, are carrying out a violent crackdown on unlicensed street vendors marked by beatings, destruction of their goods, and arbitrary arrests. Sixteen people remain in detention following their arrest on July 14, 2015, on apparent trumped-up charges of public violence.
The majority of the street vendors are women living in extreme poverty, part of the more than 70 percent of Zimbabweans who live on less than US$1.25 per day. The government should halt the crackdown and work with the vendors and their representatives on a comprehensive plan that would allow them to work while addressing the city’s concerns, Human Rights Watch said. The government should also hold those responsible for the violence to account and provide redress to the vendors.