Call for enforced disappearances to end
Johannesburg, South Africa
A 3-day Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) workshop organized in Johannesburg to discuss the phenomenon of Enforced Disappearances (ED’s) ended with a call to Zimbabwe government to stop the practice.
The workshop, which was supported by Aim for Human Rights of Netherlands attracted leading luminaries of the civil society movement from Zimbabwe and South Africa. Some of the organizations represented included Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Restoration of Human Rights, Zimrights, Women of Zimbabwe Arise as well as South African NGO’s such as Khulumani.
Commending after the workshop, Mr Gabriel Shumba, the Executive Director of ZEF and also a human rights lawyer said, “Enforced disappearances are an international crime, yet they have been happening in Zimbabwe over the years. They involve the recent phenomenon of abductions, yet they date back to pre-independence and the Gukurahundi period. We urge the government of national unity to ratify the UN Convention on ED’s, as well as to stop the practice of ED’s by the state.”
The ZEF workshop which began on the 7th and ended on the 9th of August ended with delegates receiving certificates of attendance. It also recommended increased collaboration on this issue between the ZEF and NGO’s in Zimbabwe; the setting up of a secretariat to deal with this; the need for ZEF to raise the issue with international and regional bodies such as the UN and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and a demand that this crime be recognized as such in Zimbabwe as well as the need to give as a right protection from this crime by the state.