By NQOBANI NDLOVU/VANESSA GUZHA
THE National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) has called on the government to ratify and domesticate the International Convention Against Enforced Disappearances to facilitate prosecution of perpetrators.
The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED) is an international human rights instrument of the United Nations and intended to prevent forced disappearances.
It was signed in 2007.
The NTJWG, a grouping of various transitional justice stakeholders, in a statement to mark the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, expressed regret that enforced disappearances were still being reported in the country, blaming this on lack of prosecution of alleged perpetrators.
“As the nation pursues national healing and reconciliation, there must be accountability, truth-telling and justice for the victims, survivors of enforced disappearances and their families. There must also be deliberate efforts to put in place measures to guarantee non-recurrence,” the NTJWG said in a statement.
“The NTJWG, therefore, calls for the following: Ratification and domestication of the International Convention on Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances by the Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ). The GoZ should criminalise enforced disappearances with a high penalty for the perpetrators.”
According to the UN, in 2019 alone, 49 cases of abductions and torture were reported in Zimbabwe.
In 2020, female opposition activists Joannah Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marowa were also forcibly disappeared in Harare, assaulted and dumped 48 hours after their abduction.
“The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, together with the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), must carry out a transparent and independent investigation of the circumstances surrounding unsolved cases of enforced disappearances such as the case of Itai Dzamara who was forcibly disappeared in 2015.
“The National Prosecuting Authority must prosecute all perpetrators of enforced disappearances. The NPRC must provide platforms for victims, survivors of enforced disappearances and their families to discuss their experiences to bring closure and healing,” NTJWG added.
Enforced disappearances date back to the 1980’s during Gukurahundi era.
The MDC, which has suffered more cases of abductions and torture, has called for an end to the systematic use of enforced disappearances of its members.
Follow Nqobani on Twitter @NqobaniNdlovu