via EU says Dzamara case straining relations – New Zimbabwe 11/05/2015
THE European Union says the continued abduction of human rights activist Itai Dzamara and government’s reluctance to search and find him will have a “negative” bearing on Brussels and Harare’s bilateral relations.
Dzamara went missing two months ago after he was abducted from his home area by suspected state security agents.
The social and human rights activist was staging peaceful protests against President Robert Mugabe and his administration, demanding reforms and the ageing leader’s resignation.
Prior to his abduction, Dzamara was severely assaulted by the cops alongside his colleagues and had to be admitted at a Harare hospital.
The High Court has since ordered the state to search and find Dzamara but so far the government has shown evident indifference.
At the weekend, Zanu PF provincial chairman Paradzai Chakona told journalists in Masvingo that the abduction of Dzamara was stage managed by the MDC-T to coincide with party leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s trip to the USA.
Local, regional and international rights lobby groups have also condemned Dzamara’s abduction and challenged the authorities to search and find him.
In a statement, the EU delegation in Zimbabwe said Harare was putting its relations with Brussels at stake by failing to bring Dzamara back to his family.
“We will continue to watch progress on this case closely. Human Rights remain a pillar of all our bilateral relationships,” said the western bloc.
“We urge the Zimbabwean authorities to provide regular and thorough progress reports on their search for Mr Dzamara (as ordered by the High Court in March)”.
The EU said the government should respect the national Constitution which guarantees freedom of expression.
“We reiterate our call on the Government of Zimbabwe to take all necessary measures to ascertain Mr Dzamara’s whereabouts, safeguard his wellbeing and accord him the full protection of the law, within its overall responsibilities of ensuring the safety of all its citizens.
“Furthermore, the EU calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure that those responsible for the abduction of Mr Dzamara are brought to justice”.
The EU in November last year lifted relaxed the sanctions regime and warned it would continue to watch the human rights situation in Zimbabwe.