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Zim must allow UN to investigate torture cases in the country, lawyers say

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Staff Reporter

THE government must allow the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture to visit the country as Part of measures to effectively deal with the issues of torture, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has said.

In a statement to mark International Day in Support of Victims’ of Torture issued Tuesday, ZLHR said he problem could only be fully eradicated if the government committed to the necessary legislative and administrative measures, including reforms to ensure victims moved from horror to healing.

“In the fight against torture, ZLHR urges government to accept the outstanding request for a fact-finding country visit by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to examine some questions relevant to torture;” ZLHR said.

The human rights group said government should also criminalize torture, prosecute all cases and take adequate measures to prevent all forms of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment; and also align provisions of the Police Act with the Constitution to minimize torture cases.

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights, in resolution 1985/33, decided to appoint an expert, a special rapporteur, to examine questions relevant to torture and covers all countries, irrespective of whether a State has ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

However, Zimbabwe, despite having previously accepted the recommendation to ratify the convention in 2011, rejected it in March 2017.

The country’s history is tainted by gross human rights violations, which include abductions and torture, with thousands of Zimbabweans, the majority of them opposition supporters believed to be against the iron-fisted rule of former President Robert Mugabe, falling victim.

Most of the heinous acts against civilians were perpetrated during election periods and were mostly blamed on the ruling Zanu PF party and state security agents.