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PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s regime has used enforced disappearances as a strategy to spread terror within the society, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has said.
In a statement to mark the international day against enforced disappearances, the rights lobby group said the issue of insecurity spreads across communities.
“The feeling of insecurity generated by this practice is not limited to the close relatives of the disappeared but affects their communities and society as a whole.
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“Enforced disappearances have also been used in Zimbabwe as a means of political repression of opponents as exemplified by the abductions of Jestina Mukoko and others.
“Zimbabwe is still to ratify the International Convention for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearances adopted by the UN General Assembly on 20 December 2006,” the group said Monday.
The Forum said it is saddened that the commemorations come at a time when journalist-cum-democracy activist Itai Dzamara’s whereabouts remain unknown almost half a year after he was allegedly seized by suspected state security agents in March.
“Itai Dzamara’s family need the truth of what happened to him and also for those responsible for his disappearance to be held accountable to ensure justice. Itai is not the only person that the state has failed to account for.
“We have others like Patrick Nabanyana and Paul Chizuze who went missing in 2000 and 2012 respectively. We stand in solidarity with the families of the disappeared and we support their call for investigations and justice regarding these shameful disappearances,” said the statement.
Nabanyana was a campaign manager for former Education Minister David Coltart at the turn of the century. He disappeared without trace and has not been seen or heard from for 15 years now.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said while Zimbabwe’s Constitution contains progressive provisions most rights are not respected.
“Provisions relating to the right to life, the right to personal liberty, the rights of arrested and detained persons, the right to human dignity, the right to personal security and freedom from torture, it is regrettable that citizens and human rights defenders continue to be subjected to violations of their fundamental rights by State and non-State actors.
“Perpetrators of abductions and enforced disappearances must understand that abduction and holding people incommunicado is an outdated, inhumane and ultimately ineffective practice that ruins the lives of innocent people.
The statement called on government “to ensure safety of its citizens and we call upon the safe return of all Zimbabweans that are missing”.
“The government should also ratify the international convention for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearance as well as domesticate its provisions and accept the competence of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances,” it added.

About The Forum

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum) is a coalition of twenty-two human rights NGOs in Zimbabwe. The Forum’s activities include transitional justice work, research and documentation, and public interest litigation. Learn more about us.

© 2023. Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum.