ZLHR STATEMENT ON INTERNATIONAL DAY IN SUPPORT OF VICTIMS OF TORTURE

ON INTERNATIONAL Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) implores perpetrators of this heinous crime to end this prevalent practice, which is a barbaric, inhuman and cruel form of punishment and a crime against humanity.

Observed annually on 26 June, International Day In Support of Victims of Torture is an opportunity to call on all stakeholders across the world to unite in support of survivors and victims of torture.

The day serves as a crucial reminder that torture continues to take place around the world and also presents an opportunity for stakeholders to evaluate progress made in the commitment to eradicate and combat the pervasive culture of torture, which is an international crime.

Torture can never be permitted under any circumstance and is prohibited under international law.

While international law prohibits torture, it is disappointing that so many countries around the world continue to use methods of torture.

Torture leaves physical and psychological scars and its consequences profoundly damage people’s physical and mental health and their socio-economic relationships with family members and the community.

In Zimbabwe, torture is prohibited in section 55 of the Constitution. Despite the prohibition, ZLHR is extremely concerned about incidents of torture and the utter failure by the state to fight impunity by investigating, prosecuting and severely punishing perpetrators of this heinous act.

Torturing and subjecting people to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is a gross violation of people’s freedoms and rights protected in the Constitution, regional and international human rights instruments.

The lack of commitment to eradicate the culture of torture by government is a cause for concern. While government has in the past accepted recommendations during the universal periodic review (UPR) made by several United Nations member states to ratify the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and its optional Protocol, ZLHR is appalled that this recommendation has not been implemented and was even shockingly rejected in March 2017.

To combat torture, ZLHR implores government and state and non-state actors to;

  • Criminalise torture and prosecute all perpetrators of torture including ensuring full accountability of offenders and guaranteeing redress and rehabilitation to victims;
  • Commit to total eradication of torture by ratifying and domesticating the Convention against Torture, Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and its Optional Protocol;
  • Timeously honour payment of all monetary damages granted by courts to victims of torture;
  • Speed up establishment and the operations of Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission and adequately resource it to execute its critical mandate;
  • Ensure that members of the security services desist from misconduct which violates people’s rights and align provisions of the Police Act with the Constitution to minimise cases of torture.

 

ENDS

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
Kodzero/Amalungelo House
No. 103 Sam Nujoma Street, Harare, Zimbabwe
Phone: (+263 8677005347, +263 242 764085/705370/708118
Email: info@zlhr.org
www.zlhr.org.zw
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