Harare- Zimbabwe (PANA) -- Human rights abuses are growing in Zimbabwe as the country gears up for a crunch presidential election early next year, a local NGO affirmed Friday.
In a report Amani Trust said 30 people had died from shootings, burnings and beatings since the beginning of the year, while more than 27 600 others had been subjected to human rights abuses over the same period.
It said more than 20 000 people had been displaced from their homes mainly due to politically motivated violence.
The Trust blamed much of the abuses on rival political parties, particularly the governing ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe, who is struggling to hang onto power after 21-years of uninterrupted rule.
The NGO said it had noted an increase in human rights violations in recent months as the southern African country prepares to hold its most fiercely contested presidential poll since independence from Britain in 1980.
It said the abuses took several forms, including beatings, rape, intimidation and dismissal from work for political reasons.
"There has been a dramatic increase in reported violence in the last three months, mainly linked to continued violence on commercial farms, which have affected tens of thousands of families, but also linked to elections around the country," said the Trust report.
"In the last months, owing to increasing prevalence of such violations, incidents of illegal dismissal of people from work, the barricading of people in own homes and deliberate burning of grazing and wilderness areas are now being specifically recorded," it added.
Zimbabwe's rival political parties have kicked off their campaigns for the presidential election, expected to be held in the first quarter of next year.
Elections in the country have been marred in recent years by violence, mainly between rival party supporters.