from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE – THE world has marked International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances amid a call to African governments to end this practice.
Human rights organisations urged the governments to hold perpetrators to account, search for the disappeared and provide reparations to the victims and their families.
The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (in Sudan), Lawyers for Justice in Libya, MENA Rights Group (Algeria), Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and REDRESS (United Kingdom) have documented numerous incidents of disappearances and acts of torture in the region.
The violations are aimed at suppressing peaceful dissent or those perceived to be threats.
Algeria, Libya, Sudan and Zimbabwe have emerged as the countries in the continent where enforced disappearances are rife.
Since the 1980s, the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has received over 5 000 complaints from African countries.
This number however does not reflect the scope of this practice amid denial by governments and a lack of proper records.
Marked on August 30 each year, the International Day of the Disappeared draws attention to the fate of individuals imprisoned at places and under poor conditions unknown to their relatives and/or legal representatives.
Abductions are prevalent in Zimbabwe, for example, as the government of President Emmersom Mnangagwa faces frustration from the public as economic problems mount.
– CAJ News