ZLHR calls for an end to enforced disappearances

THE Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has called on the Zimbabwean government to desist from the practice of enforced disappearances and to investigate all cases.

This was revealed Tuesday in a ZLHR press statement on the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

The commemorations are held annually on August 30 as a way of reflection on the fate and lives of all victims of enforced disappearances across the globe. 

It is also an opportunity for citizens all over the world to lobby their respective governments to shy away from the practice of forced disappearances.

In their statement, the human rights lawyers who have represented several citizens in court including human rights defenders, community activists, members of political parties and journalists also blasted the government for failing to acknowledge such cases.

“In Zimbabwe, there has been a worrying pattern of enforced disappearances. On many occasions, the victims are abducted by suspected state security agents and held incommunicado. Some of the victims have not been found to this day and their fate remains uncertain.

Government has often refused to acknowledge the disappearances and even dismissed them as staged events,” reads the statement.

Seven years ago, pro-democracy activist and journalist Itai Dzamara was abducted at a barbershop in Harare and have never been heard of ever since.

“The authorities must seriously consider and investigate all reports of enforced disappearances across the country. They must also desist from the practice of enforced disappearances and comply with the obligations, under the Constitution and international law, by holding all perpetrators of enforced disappearances accountable for their despicable crimes,” the human rights lawyers said.

“The public must also remember and reflect on the lives of victims of enforced disappearances, the families of the victims and the communities which are disrupted by this gross violation of human rights.”

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