A local human rights advocacy group has called on the Government to end the culture of impunity in cases of enforced disappearances committed by state actors.
In a statement to mark the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) urged the government to investigate reports of enforced disappearances.
“On International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, ZLHR calls upon governments to end the culture of impunity in cases of enforced disappearances perpetrated by state actors or their agents. ZLHR urges the authorities to seriously consider and investigate all reports of enforced disappearances, in line with their constitutional obligation to uphold the fundamental rights of all citizens,” ZLHR said.
The human rights pressure group expressed concern over the pattern of enforced disappearances in the country and urged authorities to cease enforced disappearances.
“The Zimbabwean authorities to cease and desist from the practice of enforced disappearances; the authorities to seriously consider and investigate all reports of enforced disappearances across the country; the authorities to comply with their obligations, under the Constitution and international law, by holding all perpetrators of enforced disappearances accountable for their despicable crimes.
“The government of Zimbabwe to ratify and domesticate the United Nations International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Members of the public to demand an end to enforced disappearances by state actors and their agents; the public to remember and reflect on the lives of victims of enforced disappearances, the families of the victims and the communities which are disrupted by this gross violation of human rights.
In Zimbabwe, ZLHR said there has been a worrying pattern of enforced disappearances with victims of enforced disappearances in the country have often been human rights defenders, community activists, members of opposition political parties and journalists.
“On many occasions, the victims are abducted by suspected state agents and held incommunicado. Some of the victims have not been found to this day and their fate remains uncertain. Government has often refused to acknowledge the disappearances and even dismissed them as staged events, “said the human rights group,” said ZLHR.
On March 9, 2015, journalist and activist Itai Dzamara went missing after he was abducted by men driving an unmarked vehicle who feigned to be arresting the prominent anti-government activist for cattle theft and has not been seen to this day.