Prosecute perpetrators of torture, govt told

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BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
HUMAN rights lawyers have cranked up pressure on government to put in place mechanisms that ensure perpetrators of torture are held accountable.

In commemorating the International Day In Support of Victims of Torture yesterday, lawyers bemoaned government’s failure to adhere to the Constitution and other international treaties to stop torture of citizens.

Recent reports on the state of the rights situation in the country revealed that torture of ordinary people has mostly been perpetrated by State security agents.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers of Human Rights (ZLHR) said the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is an opportunity for everyone to demand an end to the egregious practice of torture by public officials and their agents.

“It is also an opportunity for citizens, all over the globe, to lobby their governments to take steps towards the prosecution of all perpetrators of the abominable crime of torture,” ZLHR said.

“ZLHR also urges the authorities to implement comprehensive reform measures that will lead to eradication of all forms of torture in the country as mandated by international law and the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The authorities should also ensure that all perpetrators of the heinous crime of torture are held accountable for transgressions.”

The lawyers encouraged the public to support victims of torture through financial and social assistance.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said it was important for authorities to uphold citizens’ rights ahead of the 2023 polls.

“As we commemorate this day, the Forum urges the government to remind the security forces and law enforcement officers of their mandate to protect and enforce laws on citizens instead of turning on citizens.

“Government should enact or review the legislative framework  that criminalises torture at law, attracting stiff penalties for perpetrators,” the Forum said.

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