The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum is a network of human rights organisations which came together in 1998 to co-ordinate the provision of legal and psycho-social services to victims of organised violence and torture in Zimbabwe. The Amani Trust is a member of the Human Rights Forum, which was founded in 1998 and comprises 12 member organizations.
The other member ngos of the Human Rights Forum (listed at the end of the statement) are gravely concerned at the continuing threats and malicious allegations of impropriety being made against The Amani Trust – a non-profit making, humanitarian organisation which exists to “rehabilitate survivors of psycho-social trauma, particularly torture, repressive violence and institutional violence”.
Along with all the other members of the Human Rights Forum, The Amani Trust offers its services to all Zimbabweans, in good faith, irrespective of their background and political persuasion.
Since 1995, The Amani Trust has provided vital and unparalleled assistance to survivors of the Liberation War and Gukuruhundi. The Amani Trust has provided medial and psychological assistance to the victims of political violence and, since June 2001, social assistance to victims of political violence by way of placement in safe houses for persons at serious risk owing to the escalating violence.
Persons given refuge in the safe houses were required by Amani Trust to abide by a code of conduct, which expressly forbids engaging in any political activity.
These safe houses, where primary victims and their immediate families have been sheltered, have been variously described as “killer houses’ that house ‘terrorist elements” and fugitives from justice as well as being used to conduct covert operations against the government.
Amani Trust has also repeatedly been attacked by various government ministers and the government media for illegally channeling foreign funds to the MDC – which allegations we believe to be untrue. There have also been recent unsubstantiated allegations of corruption within Amani Trust.
The Human Rights Forum reposes full trust in The Amani Trust and will investigate specific and genuine allegations of misconduct or corruption by any of its members. Concerned persons should make written submissions to the Secretariat c/o P O Box CY 1393 Causeway.
The members of the Human Rights Forum rally behind Amani Trust in its efforts to achieve its objectives of providing assistance and rehabilitation to survivors of organised violence and torture and hope that the laudable activities of the organisation are not furthered interfered with.
Political violence in Zimbabwe has claimed hundreds of lives since 2000 and shows no signs of abating. Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans have been internally displaced over the past year. Regrettably, there has been no group or network other than the Human Rights NGO Forum ‑ including government itself ‑ which has provided the victims of political violence any tangible assistance.