Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission chairperson Elasto Mugwadi has urged the government to quickly ratify the United Nations convention against torture and domesticate it in order to address issues relating to torture.
Speaking to NewsDay on the side lines of the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture commemorations held by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum and Heal Zimbabwe, Mugawadi said there was need for the country to have some statutes to criminalise torture.
“We argue out government to ratify the UN convention against torture. Our constitution prohibits torture but we don’t have a law addressing the issue of torture,” he said.
“We call upon our government, as a member of the UN declaration of human rights as enshrined in the African Charter on Human Rights and Peoples’ Rights, to ratify the UN convention and domesticate it to criminalise torture.”
He added: “Zimbabwe has not statute to criminalise torture let alone define it. Parliament should come up with a statute on torture.”
Politically motivated violence has been a hallmark of Zimbabwe since independence.
Recently, the worst episode of political violence was experienced at the turn of the century, following the formation of the MDC.
In 2008, more than 300 MDC-T supporters were killed, while thousands where displaced, as President Robert Mugabe battled to overturn a first round poll defeat to Tsvangirai.
Victims of torture recounted harrowing experiences at the commemorations, with one woman from Buhera claiming she was tortured and raped by five men, all Zanu PF supporters for supporting the MDC-T.
She claimed she was infected by HIV and subsequently lost her husband as a result of the rape and is struggling to make end meet ends meet.