‘Come up with legislation against enforced disappearances’

THE International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearance (ICAED) has called on Zimbabwe to come up with legislation to protect people from falling victim to forced disappearances.

Source: ‘Come up with legislation against enforced disappearances’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 26, 2016


The call comes at a time the world is commemorating the International Week of the Disappeared, with Zimbabwe listed as one of the countries with a history of forced disappearances.

ICAED is also circulating an online petition that calls on governments that have not yet signed and ratified the United Nations Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance to do so without delay in order to protect citizens.

“Enforced disappearances continue to be a challenge in Zimbabwe as well, and currently, human rights activists are concerned about the disappearance of human rights activists Paul Chizuze and Itai Dzamara in 2012 and March 2015, respectively,” ICAED focal person, Mary Aileen Bacalso said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The concern is that it seems the State is not moved by the disappearance of its citizens and the clarion call is for Zimbabwe to come up with legislation against this crime against humanity.”

Dzamara’s brother, Patson, has since launched his own campaign over his sibling’s forced disappearance.

He was beaten up and detained by the police on Independence Day when he gate-crashed into the VIP enclosure at the National Sports Stadium during the main celebrations, waving placards demanding government account for his brother.

In Parliament, a motion calling on government to take care of Dzamara’s family was introduced by Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T), but it was thwarted by Zanu PF MPs, who walked out on the debate whenever it was introduced to ensure it never got discussed due to a lack of quorum.

The motion on Dzamara is, however, still in the National Assembly Order Paper and has to be concluded despite the thwarting of debating the issue.

In Africa, only 11 states have ratified the International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearance, while 27 signed the convention and 26 have taken no action at all.

Zimbabwe is listed as having neither signed nor ratified the convention.

ICAED is said to be important for African countries to ratify since there is no instrument under the African human rights system to deal with enforced disappearance.

The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) documented enforced disappearances in Matabeleland and Midlands during the Gukurahundi massacres that left nearly 20 000 dead, according to the commission.

The enforced disappearance of government critics has become an established pattern since independence.

In 2008, dozens of opposition and human rights activists were allegedly forcibly kidnapped and held for weeks in a crackdown.

The State repeatedly denied its involvement, but many activists were later found in State custody, while the fate and whereabouts of others remain unknown.