By NQOBANI NDLOVU
THE United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) must step in to stop a culture of State-sponsored human rights violations as the “price of silence is huge”, former National Healing minister Moses Mzila-Ndlovu has said.
In an online petition to the UNHCR, Mzila-Ndlovu said the culture of impunity was on the rise at a time the country’s human rights situation is under international spotlight.
Some opposition and human rights activists have been forced to go into hiding or skip the borders fearing arrest for organising anti-government protests. Some have been arrested, while others have been abducted and tortured in recent weeks.
Mzila-Ndlovu, in a petition to the UNHCR titled Justice for Matabeleland Gukurahundi Genocide and Ongoing Injustices in Zimbabwe, argued that perpetrators “should not continue to enjoy a culture of impunity in Zimbabwe”.
“This petition is a call to the UNHCR to officially recognise the 1980 to 1987 Matabeleland Gukurahundi genocide where more than 20 000 people died,” the petition read in part.
“Today they (State actors) are conducting the same acts of murder, abductions and terror and the world is watching. Zanu PF and its leadership should not continue to enjoy a culture of impunity in Zimbabwe.
“The more they are given this culture of impunity, the more they commit crimes against humanity. All victims of Zanu PF government’s State-sanctioned genocide and ongoing human rights violations are demanding truth, justice and reparations for the systematic violations of their rights.”
Government and the ruling Zanu PF party have denied reports of State-sanctioned human rights abuses.
In July, opposition MDC Alliance legislator Joanah Mamombe and activists Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova, who were allegedly abducted and tortured for participating in a peaceful demonstration in Harare, were charged with stage-managing their abduction.
Mzila-Ndlovu, who also leads the opposition Alliance for National Salvation, appealed to Zimbabweans to demand justice for all victims of State-sponsored violence dating back to the 1980s.