National Association of Youth Organizations Statement on the Abduction and Torture of MDC Alliance Youth Activists

The National Association of Youth Organizations (NAYO) is a youth umbrella body for youth organizations working in Zimbabwe the National Youth Sector Chair in NANGO. Its vision is to see a repositioned, redefined and enhanced role of youth in community and national, regional and international developmental processes. Its work seeks to redress the challenges that youth are facing and contribute towards their active participation in developmental processes through Coordination, Advocacy, Mobilization, Capacity Building and Information Sharing Initiatives.

Cognizant of the founding principles and values of Zimbabwe which make recognition of the inherent dignity and worth of each human being which are further reinforced in various binding sections of the Constitution: section (50, 1c) ‘arrested persons must be treated humanely and with respect for their inherent dignity’; section (53) ‘no person may be subjected to physical or psychological torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and section (86, 3b and c) which provide that no law may limit or person violate ‘the right to dignity’ and ‘the right not to be tortured or subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’;

Recognizing the political rights provided in section 67 (d) ‘to participate, individually, or collectively, in gatherings or groupings or in any other manner, in peaceful activities to influence, challenge or support the policies of the Government or any political or whatever cause’;

Perturbed by the alleged abduction and subsequent inhuman and degrading treatment of three female activists within the MDC Alliance Youth League including a seating Member of Parliament and the gross violation of their human rights thereof;

We implore the State and all relevant institutions and agencies of Government at every level as a matter of urgency to undertake the following in upholding the Constitution of Zimbabwe:

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the Zimbabwe Gender Commission to undertake a thorough investigation into the alleged abduction, inhuman and degrading treatment and torture of MDC Alliance Youth members who participated in a flash demonstration in Warren Park 1 in Harare, seeking to bring the spotlight the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans following the imposition of the National Lockdown which has had an adverse effect on the livelihoods of citizens with no tangible social protection programmes being unveiled by the Government;

The Government of Zimbabwe to respect and uphold rights within the Constitution that provide for youth to associate and to participate in political spheres of life provided for under Section 20 (b) and Section 56 on equality and non-discrimination and refrain from retributive treatment of youth political and human rights activists that choose to stand for the collective rights of citizens as enshrined within the Constitution of Zimbabwe; and

The Government of Zimbabwe to unveil a comprehensive, non-partisan and accessible social welfare programme that provides vital support to all citizens especially vulnerable groups which include children, women, youth, the elderly, persons with disabilities, persons with HIV and AIDS among others as a matter of urgency. We condemn in the harshest manner allegations of partisan distribution of food aid and other forms of support to citizens.

Source: National Association of Youth Organisations (NAYO)