Ratify conventions against torture, ZimRights tells govt

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Government should ratify United Nations conventions against torture or inhuman treatment as well as the international convention for the protection of all persons against enforced disappearances, civil society organisations have said.

ZimRights and Heal Zimbabwe Trust, in statements marking International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances which is commemorated annually on August 30, raised concern about growing incidences of alleged abductions, torture and disappearance of citizens,  particularly  those participating in politics.

“ZimRights notes with concern the growing frequency of enforced disappearances. There are many people that have not been accounted for, among them Itai Dzamara from 2015 despite a court order to the police to search for him, Patrick Nabanyana in 2000 and many others,” Zimrights said.

The most recent case involves activist Tawanda Muchehiwa, a second year Media and Society Studies student at the Midlands State University, who was allegedly abducted and tortured by unidentified individuals on July 30 for three days.

MDC- Alliance youth leaders — Harare West MP Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova have also made abduction claims, which were rubbished by police before they were charged with falsifying the claims.

Heal Zimbabwe Trust, a non-profit peace building organisation established in 2009 with a mission to prevent conflicts in Zimbabwe, said the government must urgently enact laws that protect citizens from enforced disappearances to ensure that perpetrators of such vices are held accountable.

 “The commemoration of this important day serves to remind states on the need to enact specific laws that protect citizens against the crime of enforced disappearance. This can be achieved through investigating reports of enforced disappearance and bringing those responsible to justice.

“Section 53 of the Constitution provides for Freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Such fundamental human rights and freedoms are to be enjoyed by every citizen without selective application,” Heal Zimbabwe said.

It added that Zimbabwe should ratify the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, a regional human rights instrument that outlaws degrading treatment of human beings on the continent.

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