The President Emmerson Mnangagwa-led government has been urged to urgently sign the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment [CAT] and take steps to protect victims of torture.
To mark the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, various human rights organisations criticized the government’s lacklustre approach to committing to the convention, which is seen as an attempt to dodge accountability due to the alleged heinous crimes by the alleged state security apparatus.
Zimbabwe Lawyers of Human Rights (ZLHR) said the day presents an opportunity for everyone to demand an end to the heinous practices of torture by public officials and their agents.
“It is also an opportunity for citizens, all over the globe, to lobby their governments to take steps toward the prosecution of all perpetrators of the abominable crime of torture.
“ZLHR also urges the authorities to implement comprehensive reform measures that will lead to the eradication of all forms of torture in the country as mandated by international law and the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The authorities should also ensure that all perpetrators of the heinous crime of torture are held accountable for transgressions,” ZLHR said in a statement.
Veritas said it is disheartening that Zimbabwe is one of the few countries that have not yet taken steps to adopt the Convention and its Protocol.
“This despite Parliament having resolved in 2001 that the Government should adopt them, and despite Ministerial statements that Zimbabwe would adopt them. Despite section 53 of our Constitution, which outlaws torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
“For years Veritas has urged the Government to live up to its pledges and accede to the CAT Convention and its Protocol, and to take effective steps to prevent torture in Zimbabwe,” Veritas said.
It further stated that by acceding to the CAT Convention, the Mnangagwa government will show the nation’s commitment to respecting human rights and show that there is real change under the New Dispensation.