Statement to observe the disappearance of Itai Dzamara
Today marks 8 years since the disappearance of Itai Dzamara. On the morning of 9 March 2015, Dzamara was abducted by five unidentified men, suspected to be state agents, while at a barber shop in Harare’s Glen View suburb.
We stand in solidarity with victims and families of enforced disappearances.
The crime of abduction/enforced disappearance is a very serious violation of human rights because it bundles more than one violation in that single act. It violates the dignity of the person and subjects him to potential assaults, torture and threatens the very life of the person. It further goes on to punish the family and put the children and spouse under severe psychological trauma. They live in fear and uncertainty.
And in all this, the state and its agents are accountable because it has a duty under domestic and international law to protect human life and to conduct an effective investigation aimed at clarifying the whereabouts of the missing person. As long as the state has not fulfilled this obligation, and the person is still missing, that constitutes a continued violation of the victim’s rights and an abdication of the state’s procedural obligation to protect the right to life.
This is a violation that goes to the heart of the family unit that is protected by Article 18 of the African Charter on Human Peoples’ Rights. The African Charter states, “The family shall be the natural unit and basis of society. It shall be protected by the State that shall take care of its physical and moral health.” The government of Zimbabwe, and the chairperson of the African Union must be reminded that as long as Dzamara continues to be missing, the state continues to be actively violating the African Charter.
The act is also a violation of the children’s rights as enshrined in section 81 of our Constitution and engraved on the conscience of our humanity.
Dzamara has a family, and by the operation of the state, his family has been attacked at the core. His children Nenyasha and Nokutenda have been robbed of their rights to parental care and family life. Dzamara’s wife, Sheffra, is deprived of the right to the truth and access to justice and remedy.
As we count the years, we continue to call for the State to take all measures and investigate the whereabouts of Itai Dzamara. We continue to call for acknowledgment of the State’s role in the disappearance. Our calls for truth will not be drowned by time until the perpetrators have been brought to book.
Issued by the ZimRights information Department