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Arrest of the Counseling Services Unit counsellors and staff

Arrest of the Counseling Services Unit counsellors and staff

U.S. Embassy Harare
Public Affairs Section
STATEMENT: Arrest of the Counseling Services Unit counsellors and staff

Harare, November 8, 2012:  The United States is deeply concerned about the November 5th police search of the Zimbabwean Counseling Services Unit (CSU) medical clinic and the arrest of three senior programme officers.  CSU is a lawfully registered medical clinic providing non-partisan counselling and referral services to all victims of trauma.

This search represents the latest incident in a worrying trend of deploying elements of state security sector institutions to threaten and intimidate political activists and those who provide support to victims of such intimidation and abuse.

In addition to the arrests and subsequent transport of the three CSU employees to Bulawayo, the United States is concerned about the disruption of medical services to victims of trauma that occurred during the search of CSU premises and the illegal access to confidential patient medical records.  Patient record confidentiality is a critical part of medical services and should be respected through strict adherence to the law.

Non-partisan trauma and medical counseling is a vital part of Zimbabwe’s work to re-build a strong, just democracy after over a decade of political trauma.  The United States calls on all Zimbabweans to support and protect that work.  In the lead up to national elections, the United States looks to the government of Zimbabwe to ensure that all security sector leaders and groups strictly follow President Mugabe’s call for non-violence; and that they also follow a policy of non-interference in democratic processes, including no harassment, intimidation, or hints of retribution. 

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Comments and queries should be addressed to Sharon Hudson-Dean, Counselor for Public Affairs. E-mail:  Tel. +263 4 758800-1, Fax: 758802.

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