The Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE) together with WELEAD Trust, Economic Justice for Women Project (EJWP), Female Prisoners Support Trust (FEMPRIST), Imba Mukadzi Umuzi Ngumama Trust (IMUNT), Rural Young Women Support Network (RYWSN) and women’s rights activists such as Tsitsi Dangarembga recently petitioned the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), the Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) over the arrest, abduction, torture and sexual abuse of Hon Joana Mamombe, Netsai Marova and Cecilia Chimbiri by suspected State security agents.
The three were abducted on the 13th of May 2020 near Warren Park, Harare and were later found at Muchapondwa Business Centre in Bindura South, Mashonaland Central on the 15th of May 2020. Their torture comes against a backdrop of systematic abuse of women’s fundamental human rights by suspected State agents. The petitioners also wrote letters of concern over gross human rights abuses in Zimbabwe against women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) and activists to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), African Union (AU) and the office of the UN Women Executive Director, Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. The petitioners also wrote to President Mnangagwa raising concerns over the abuse of women and expressed dismay over the insensitive remarks being made by senior Government officials towards victims of suspected State security agents. A formal complaint against abuse and torture of a Member of Parliament was also lodged by the petitioners to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) on behalf of Hon Mamombe.
WALPE in partnership with the Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (SAHRDN) also petitioned the following human rights institutions over gross human rights abuses against WHRDs and activists in Zimbabwe by suspected State security forces: African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), Pan African Human Rights Defenders Network, United Nations (UN) working group on enforced or involuntary disappearance, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, UN independent expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, UN special rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Human Rights Watch, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.
The failure by the Zimbabwean Government to bring the perpetrators of violence against women HRDs and activists to book is a cause for concern, hence the appeal to national, regional and international human rights organizations to facilitate for justice through launching independent investigations on the gross human rights violations against the three and many other female victims of state brutality in the country.
Source: Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE)