Statement by Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum on celebrating its 10th Anniversary and welcoming the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Professor Manfred Nowak

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum) is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year and is honored to have Professor Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, as its special guest to join in the celebrations. Professor Nowak is on a 24-hour private visit to Zimbabwe and his distinguished presence has added to the quality of our celebrations.

The Forum is a coalition of 17 human rights NGOs concerned with the nature and level of organized violence and torture perpetrated mainly but not exclusively, by state agents. Over the years it has produced Monthly Political Violence Reports and published special and ad hoc Reports on relevant topical issues ranging from election violence, police brutality, forceful removal of “illegal occupiers” of urban housing, transitional justice, gender based violence as well as the use of the language of violence and intolerance. We have also recorded instances of violence against individuals. The Forum has recorded a total of 30 918 human rights violations since 2001.

Our special guest Professor Nowak has been the Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights (Vienna); a member of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; Judge at the Human Rights Chamber of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chairperson of the Council and of the Executive Committee of the “European Master’s Programme in Human Rights and Democratization, Olaf Palme Visiting Fellow at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, (Lund/Sweden) and member of the EU Network of Independent Experts in Fundamental Rights, since 2004.

His presence together with the ongoing support of our donors, members, colleagues and staff continue to give us the determination to work towards the elimination of organized violence and torture in Zimbabwe and the elimination of impunity which surrounds the perpetrators.

Professor Nowak will be at the Meikles hotel at 2.30pm on Sunday 24 February 2008 if members of the press wish to see him.

Design and development supported by HURIDOCS.