23 November 2018
As the world prepares to commemorate the International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2018, (with 2018 also marking the 70th year anniversary for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) will remember and honour victims of abductions and enforced disappearances in Zimbabwe especially the 2008 victims. ZPP’s theme is #TotalEnd2EnforcedDisappearances(TE2ED). Article 2 of the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance considers enforced disappearance as “the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law”. Enforced disappearances and abductions violate fundamental Human Rights, particularly the Right to be recognized as a human being before the law and the right to liberty and security of a person amongst others. These rights are enshrined in the Zimbabwe Constitution and must be respected. Section 49 provides that:
Every person has the right to personal liberty, which includes the right—
1 (a) Not to be detained without trial; and
(b) Not to be deprived of their liberty arbitrarily or without just cause.
Section 56 then stipulates that:
- All persons are equal before the law and have the right to equal protection and benefit of the law.
Despite these Constitutional provisions, enforced disappearances and abductions have been occurring in Zimbabwe; targeting opposition political party activists and human rights defenders. These violations were more pronounced at the height of opposition politics between 2000 and 2008. Many who disappeared have not been accounted for and their families never got closure as there is impunity for enforced disappearances. In 2008 alone, ZPP recorded an alarming 511 cases of enforced disappearances and abductions, most of which were perpetrated between April and December 2008. With 2018 marking 10 years since the 2008 abductions, it is important to note that there have been other such violations before and after 2008. ZPP calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to do the following:
- Ratify and domesticate the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
- Criminalise all acts of enforced disappearances and abductions.
- Investigate all reported cases of enforced disappearances and abductions and bring justice to the affected individuals and families.
- End all forms of disappearances and abductions.
If you are concerned about acts of violence in your community ZPP encourages you to get in touch on WhatsApp numbers: +263 774 883 406 and +263 774 883 417 and Toll free number 080 80199