Statement on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
'No person shall be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading
punishment or other such treatment.'
Section 15 (1) of the
Constitution of Zimbabwe
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) joins Zimbabweans and the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. The Coalition calls upon the inclusive government to discourage the use of torture within its borders and to uphold the Constitution of Zimbabwe by ensuring that all perpetrators of torture regardless of their political affiliation are brought to book and victims of torture receive adequate redress.
Despite being a State party to regional and international instruments such as the African Charter on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the government of Zimbabwe continues to promote torture through its acts of omission and commission which perpetuate impunity. Many victims of the Gukurahundi massacres and the politically-motivated violence instigated against members of the Movement for Democratic Change and civil society activists amount to gross human rights abuses that should be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.
The ushering in of the inclusive government in 2009 brought hope to victims of torture who felt that assailants would be apprehended and their grievances met through an independent judicial process. However, despite the existence of Article 18 of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) which exhorts the state 'to apply the laws of the country fully and impartially in bringing all perpetrators of politically motivated violence to book', the perpetrators, although known, remain protected by a highly compromised prosecuting authority. The perpetrators continue to taunt the victims and boast that they have not been prosecuted for their heinous crimes because "tisu tirikutonga" or "tisu tiripanyanga" (we are the ones in charge). The Coalition wishes to restate its long held view that without adequately addressing the crimes of the past, it is difficult to move forward.
The vision of a torture free country can be achieved through;
1. Acknowledging past cases of torture and bringing all perpetrators regardless of their positions in society, to account for their actions without fear or favour.
2. The government ratifying the Convention Against Torture (CAT) which allows for the adoption of a national legal framework that can be operationalized to erase the culture of impunity within our society.
Issued by: Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
1. Phillip Pasirayi, Spokesperson, Mobile: +263 772697782
2. Jonah Gokova, Chairperson, Mobile: +263 772214757
3. McDonald Lewanika, Director, Mobile: +263 772127398