10 Jun ZPP welcomes UN experts’ statement on enforced disappearances
The Zimbabwe Peace Project welcomes the bold stand by the United Nations (UN) human rights experts in calling on Zimbabwe to immediately stop the growing pattern of enforced disappearances and torture that appear to be aimed at suppressing protests and dissent.
The statement gives credence to ZPP’s documented human rights abuses, which are on an increase, and are signalling a narrowing of the democratic space in the country.The experts have called for the dropping of charges against the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) three youth leaders, Joanna Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova – who were arrested, abducted and tortured after they had staged a protest in Harare. The three are being charged for organising a protest in violation of COVID-19 lockdown regulations. On Wednesday, the three were rearrested on fresh charges of reporting a fake abduction.
“Targeting peaceful dissidents, including youth leaders, in direct retaliation for the exercise of their freedom of association, peaceful assembly and freedom of expression is a serious violation of human rights law,” said the experts in a statement.
The experts further called on government to “urgently prosecute and punish the perpetrators of this outrageous crime, and to immediately enforce a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ for abductions and torture throughout the country” to ensure the effective protection of women against sexual violence, and to bring those responsible to account.
In light of this, ZPP, which has documented an increase in human rights abuses perpetrated by state agents, implores government to do the right thing and abide by all the provisions of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom and safety of all citizens regardless of their political affiliation, social class, race, or ethnicity.Zimbabwe faces a critical moment, where the economy is on a tailspin, and the COVID19 pandemic is ravaging the world, and it is regrettable for government to use this as a chance to suppress its citizens.It is only when government acts to accord its citizens the freedoms and democratic space due to them that everyone can start to work together for the betterment of Zimbabwe.JESTINA MUKOKO