Churches have implored the government through the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) to help in investigating all cases of disappearances in order to bring closure to the victim’s families.
This comes as the world commemorated the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances on 30 August, a day set aside by the United Nations (UN) in 2010 to remember the victims of enforced disappearances.
In a statement on Monday, Churches Converge on Conflict and Peace (CCCOP), a consortium of Church Organisations working for peace, said Zimbabwe has a disturbing history of enforced disappearances, particularly during the dark period of Gukurahundi. Said CCCOP:
Also, some activists have gone missing for years. There is evidence that activists have been tortured in police custody, despite denials by police (Veritas, 2020).
To date, pro-democracy activist Itai Dzamara, who was abducted on 9 March 2015, remains unaccounted for.
It is critical to understand that, such occurrences of enforced disappearances, does not only affect the immediate family of the victims, but has an adverse effect on community members, and the whole nation at large with a sense of insecurity.
The consortium said enforced disappearance is a serious human rights violation that infringes victims the right to recognition as a person before the law; The right to liberty and security of the person.
CCOP urged the government to intensify the search for missing persons and to take all measures possible to prevent such occurrences and put an end to such crimes by ensuring compensation to victims and making perpetrators accountable. The group said:
As Churches, we ground our commitment to human rights in the core of Christian theological conviction that each and every human life is sacred.
All humans who are mistreated or tormented are somebody’s brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, parents and grandparents.