Zim urged to adopt Convention Against Torture

BY VENERANDA LANGA

ZIMBABWE has been urged to adopt and accede to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment if the country is to be considered internationally as a nation upholding human rights which is pivotal in the international re-engagement process.

The Convention Against Torture (CAT) demands that States must effectively take measures to prevent torture within their territories.

It was adopted by consensus in the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1984, where the Zimbabwean delegation was present.

Legal think-tank Veritas said their presence meant that presumably, they concurred with CAT.

“It is difficult to understand why the government has not acceded to CAT under the new dispensation, and the government has much to gain from accession as it would show itself to be an
integral member of the international community and ready to co-operate with other governments in upholding universally-accepted human rights,” Veritas said in a statement.

“It would also demonstrate government’s willingness to implement the Constitution and to abide by commitments previously given to the UN Human Rights Council and its own citizens.”

Zimbabwe has a record of people that have suffered torture and degrading treatment, with the latest complaints being of people beaten up and tortured during the January demonstrations
over the rise in fuel prices.

Some of the complaints were documented by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.

There are also people like journalist-cum-human rights activist Itai Dzamara, who was beaten up and tortured before he went missing a few years ago.

Recently, Amalgated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure was allegedly kidnapped from his home and tortured for demanding an increase in teachers’
salaries.

The UN wants torture prohibited in detention centres, prisons, police stations, psychiatric institutions and elsewhere.

Only 166 out of the 193 UN member States have adopted CAT and are State parties, and of the 55 African countries, only Zimbabwe and Tanzania have neither signed nor ratified CAT.

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