Ratify, domesticate anti-torture convention, govt urged 

Source: Ratify, domesticate anti-torture convention, govt urged –Newsday Zimbabwe

The commemorations mark the day the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment came into effect in 1987.

GOVERNMENT should ratify and domesticate the Treaty on the Convention against Torture for Zimbabwe to have a legal instrument that criminalises torture.

The call was made during an event to commemorate the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture in Harare yesterday.

The commemorations mark the day the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment came into effect in 1987.

Addressing journalists, Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) national director Perlagia Tafadzwa Kapuya said the setting up of institutions like the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the ratification of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights showed government’s commitment to protecting human rights.

“As we commemorate this day, ZPP would like to encourage the government of Zimbabwe to sign, ratify and domesticate the Convention against Torture (CAT).

“Zimbabwe and Tanzania are the only countries in Sadc which have neither signed nor ratified CAT. Signing, ratifying and domesticating CAT is particularly important for Zimbabwe as there currently is no legal instrument to criminalise torture as provided for in section 53 of the Constitution, which speaks to freedom from torture,” she said.

Kapuya revealed that ZPP was not working against government.

“We believe that by unveiling empirical, credible and verified information on the human rights situation, we’re actually making the job of government and other institutions that are mandated to protect our human rights easier.

“I also want to maybe take this opportunity to set the record clear that ZPP’s role is contributing to what the government seeks and must achieve, that is the protection of human rights.

“Let me, therefore, emphasise that there are some perceptions by some quotas of maybe the media itself that ZPP is perpetually anti-government, and I want to say that in this engagement session, that those perceptions are really baseless and are really unfounded.”

She said ZPP looked forward to an opportunity to collaborate with government and other stakeholders working on improving the human rights situation in Zimbabwe.

Kapuya said since 2019 ZPP had recorded 63 cases of torture compared to 811 recorded between 2008 and 2018, with the highest number of 452 violations recorded in 2008.

 “Sadly, in most of these cases or these incidents, the perpetrators have not been held accountable and this is why we, as the citizens of Zimbabwe, together, ZPP and the CSOs [civic society organisations], the media, we must fight to end abuse, fight for the promotion of all human rights and foster sustainable peace in Zimbabwe, which is really our vision as ZPP,” she said.

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