ZLHR Solidarity Statement on the Disappearance of Itai Dzamara

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 five years now.

The family of Itai Dzamara has a right to know what happened to him to bring closure to his disappearance.

The disappearance of Itai Dzamara on 9 March 2015 for yet to be established motives remains a mystery and raises questions on the right to security of persons in Zimbabwe particularly those perceived to be critical on the government of the day.

As Itai’s lawyers, ZLHR will continue to assist the Dzamara family in their quest to know what happened to Itai and for justice to prevail. It appears the authorities have forgotten about his disappearance and it is business as usual.

ZLHR remembers with gratitude the values that Itai, stood for, over the years and the commitment he invested in the pursuit of freedom, democracy, justice and peace in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe can only prosper when citizens feel protected by government.

Five years on after the disappearance of Itai, 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 bringing into question the seriousness and sincerity of government in establishing what happened to Itai.

ZLHR condemns the lack of progress made in investigating the human rights violations highlighted by the abduction and enforced disappearance of Itai and punishing those responsible. ZLHR further holds government accountable for the disappearance of Itai as government has a duty to protect its citizens even if government is not directly responsible for the violation.

ZLHR urges government to:

(a) Take all necessary, concrete and urgent steps to ascertain the whereabouts of Itai Dzamara and to continually update the family on efforts being made to locate him.

(b) Fully investigate the circumstances surrounding his abduction and the full reasons of his abduction and ensure that those responsible for his 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 Optional Protocol.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights