Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ), representing non-partisan women’s rights organizations and activists in all the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe condemns the abduction, enforced disappearance and torture of three (3) women political activists Honourable Member of Parliament Joana Mamombe, Netsai Marova and Cecilia Chimbiri, who were taken by unknown persons on Wednesday the 13th of May 2020 and found on the morning of the 15th of May 2020.
WCOZ condemns in the strongest terms the abduction, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment that the women were subjected to. We decry the culture of passing the blame and passing the responsibility by Government entities, to the point where no one is ultimately responsible for the violation of women’s rights.
The alleged violation of the lockdown by the three women and their colleagues in a demonstration should have been processed and subjected to the due process of the law.
The attack reminds Zimbabweans, and women in particular, of the persistent environment of fear, intimidation and ensuing impunity of perpetrators that creates and nurtures fear in the public political domain of Zimbabwe.
As women and girls, we are appalled at the violation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which guarantees the right to human dignity, right to personal security and the right to Freedom from torture, or cruel, inhuman degrading treatment or punishment.
The inability of the State to guarantee the basic right of safety and security to Zimbabwean women violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and the SADC Protocol On Gender and Development, which provide that no one shall be subjected to torture, or cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.
We accordingly reiterate our continuous calls for;
- the Government of Zimbabwe to demonstrate commitment to good governance and democracy by exercising its powers and mandate, in a transparent, and human rights responsive manner and fully account to women and the general public on this incident.
- the Government to demonstrate its commitment to the Constitution of Zimbabwe by expediting the Establishment of the Independent Complaints Mechanism which has been outstanding for the last 7 years.
- the constitutional Chapter 12 Independent Commissions, namely the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, and the Zimbabwe Gender Commission to exercise urgency in the activation of their mechanisms and mandates in fully addressing and supporting the required accounting for this incident which is systemic in Zimbabwean political environment
- media practitioners, media houses, and general members of the public to promote the human dignity and safeguarding of women rights by preventing the creation and facilitation of secondary trauma and other forms of violence including stigma on victims of abductions and torture, through desisting from the practice of rampant circulation of images of affected persons in crisis and distress.
- non-harassment and intimidation of persons and institutions working to provide women and girls access to critical requisite first responder support services
We remain fully deployed, in our diversity, at various levels to influence of the advancement of women and girls’ rights, to ensure that those rights are fully respected by the State, the private sector and citizens throughout Zimbabwe.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)