5 December 2018
70 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the global annual average of enforced disappearances and abductions is still high. The Worldwide Movement for Human Rights in a statement in August 2017 reported that the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances transmitted 1,094 newly reported cases of enforced disappearances to 36 states. In Zimbabwe, the highest number of abductions was recorded in 2008 where Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) recorded 511 cases. These cases were reported across all provinces with the highest number being recorded in Manicaland at 184 cases. The following is a visual of the 2008 ZPP statistics:
The table indicates a lack of respect for human security and life by the perpetrators. These reported figures and provinces can contribute to a post conflict justice drive whose mandate lies with the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC). The impact of enforced disappearances and abductions on victims and their families is so grave that it should not be given any place in humanity, Zimbabwe in particular. Victims suffer torture and fear whilst in custody whilst their families have to deal with mixed emotions of hope and despair. In some cases the victim would be the bread winner and this has ramifications on their family. Some victims who have chronic medical conditions that require them to take medication at regular, stipulated times often find themselves without that medication and this negatively impacts their health. Globally, the vast majority of victims of enforced disappearance are men and the effect of this on women is often pronounced. The women have the burden of explaining to their children the whereabouts of their father. On June 12, 2015, Sheffra Dzamara, whose husband Itai Dzamara was abducted on 9 March 2015 was quoted by the Independent newspaper saying “You do not know what it means when his three-year-old daughter, Nenyasha says… today dad will bring me chips and chicken or when she fires you with a question ‘mama, when is dad coming back?” In addition to the previous calls on the Government of Zimbabwe, ZPP implores the state to:
- Provide access to affordable justice for all victims of abductions.
- Provide quality psycho social support and services for both victims and their families.
- Provide free health and education for families whose bread winners were disappeared.
- Ensure that not one more person suffers abductions and disappearances!
If you are concerned about acts of human rights violations 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