Three years on: Zim authorities should do more to ascertain Itai Dzamara’s whereabouts

ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) stands in solidarity with the Dzamara family, friends of Itai Dzamara and other peace loving Zimbabweans that are agonising over the continued disappearance and failure to account by state actors on the fate of the pro-democracy campaigner, who has been missing for three years.

Itai, a father of two children, was abducted by some unidentified men who were travelling in an unmarked white Nissan Hardbody vehicle from a barber-shop near his home on 09 March 2015 for yet to be established motives.

ZLHR also stands in support of all other Zimbabweans including Paul Chizuze and Patrick Nabanyana, who remain missing since they were abducted and disappeared in 2000 and 2012.

ZLHR remembers with gratitude the values that Itai, Paul and Patrick stood for, the years and commitment they invested in the pursuit of freedom, democracy, justice and peace in Zimbabwe.

Although the cry to “Bring Back Itai” remains a national and worldwide cause, it is saddening to note that while in March 2015, High Court Judge Justice David Mangota issued an order directing authorities to investigate, establish his whereabouts and update his family and lawyers, no meaningful progress has been made to date.

ZLHR condemns the lack of progress made in investigating the human rights violations highlighted by the abduction and enforced disappearance of Itai, Paul and Patrick and in punishing those responsible.

Those responsible for disappearing Itai, Paul and Patrick have committed heinous crimes under international law. Perpetrators of abductions and enforced disappearances must understand that abduction and holding people incommunicado is an outdated, inhumane, and ultimately ineffective practice that ruins the lives of innocent people.

ZLHR urges the government to:

(a) Take all necessary and urgent measures to ascertain the whereabouts of Itai, Paul and Patrick among other disappeared and missing people.

(b) Fully investigate the circumstances surrounding their abduction and the full reasons of their abduction and ensure that those responsible for their enforced disappearance are brought to account.

(c) Ratify, domesticate and fully implement provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances and the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and its Protocol.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights