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Amnesty Appeals to Zimbabwe for Commission of Inquiry into Activist's Abduction

  • VOA Staff

FILE - Sheffra Dzamara, wife of activist Itai Dzamara, holds her 2-year-old daughter and speaks to The Associated Press in Harare, March 8, 2016. Dzamara was pleading for the return of her activist husband, abducted by suspected state security agents.

FILE - Sheffra Dzamara, wife of activist Itai Dzamara, holds her 2-year-old daughter and speaks to The Associated Press in Harare, March 8, 2016. Dzamara was pleading for the return of her activist husband, abducted by suspected state security agents.

Amnesty International has made another appeal to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to establish an independent judge-led commission of inquiry into the abduction and likely enforced disappearance of activist Itai Dzamara about 18 months ago.

Marking this year's International Day of the Disappeared, Amnesty International appealed to Zimbabwe to scale up efforts to locate Itai Dzamara, an anti-Mugabe activist who was abducted by suspected state security agents in March 2015. He has been missing since then.

Amnesty's deputy director for southern Africa, Tjiurimo Hengari, says Zimbabwe's authorities need to take action.

Posters of missing activist Itai Dzamara. Some civic organizations in Zimbabwe have offered $2000 for information leading to Dzamara's whereabouts. (Sebastian Mhofu/VOA)

Posters of missing activist Itai Dzamara. Some civic organizations in Zimbabwe have offered $2000 for information leading to Dzamara's whereabouts. (Sebastian Mhofu/VOA)

“[The] failure of the police to account for the enforced disappearance of Itai Dzamara, almost 18 months after he was last seen, speaks volumes about the high levels of impunity that persist in Zimbabwe. The authorities must take action to ensure truth and justice are delivered and free the Dzamara family from the agonizing uncertainty they have been subjected to since Itai’s disappearance," he said.

Hengari says he has not received a response from Harare to a letter he co-authored last week.

"Amnesty International’s secretary-general, Salil Shetty, and Human Rights Watch’s executive director, Kenneth Roth, wrote a letter to President Robert Mugabe’s government, urging it to establish an independent judge-led commission of inquiry into the abduction and likely enforced disappearance of Itai Dzamara and ensure that those suspected to be responsible for his disappearance are brought to justice in fair trials," said Hengari.

Before his abduction, Dzamara had been leading demonstrations calling for President Mugabe to step down for failing to fix the economy and respect human rights.

On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch urged Southern African Development Community leaders meeting in Swaziland to take concrete steps to improve respect for human rights among its 15 member countries. The leaders said the disappearance of Dzamara was of concern to the group.

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