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U.S Concerned About Abduction, Assault of Zimbabwe Civil Society Leaders

U.S Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr.

The United States says it is concerned about reports of the abduction, assault and harassment of civil society leaders in Zimbabwe.

In a statement, the U.S Embassy in Harare said, “We urge the Zimbabwe government to investigate these crimes and ensure adequate protection of individuals peacefully exercising their constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of expression.”

Several activists, including disappeared Itai Dzamara’s brother Patson Dzamara, who were planning an anti-bond notes mass protest Friday were allegedly abducted by state security agents.

U.S. Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr. met with Dzamara to check on his wellbeing, to share U.S. concerns, and to show support for the rights of Dzamara and other Zimbabweans.

“The United States remains concerned about Zimbabwe’s deteriorating human rights record, which includes the continued harassment, arrests, and ongoing detention of civil rights leaders, political activists, and journalists demanding economic and political reforms.

“In many cases, these individuals have been assaulted and denied access to adequate health care. Some have been detained for extended periods and reportedly been subjected to torture, while the disappearance of some activists, including Itai Dzamara, who disappeared on March 9, 2015, remain unresolved. These actions are in contravention of Zimbabwe’s international commitments.”

Thomas Jnr. said the United States supports the freedoms of speech and assembly, and “we call on the government of Zimbabwe to respect the human rights of all Zimbabwean citizens, and to uphold its laws and international commitments.”

The civil society leaders wanted to protest against the planned introduction of bond notes in the country.

The U.S and its allies imposed targeted sanctions on some top members of the ruling Zanu PF party following claims of human rights violations and vote rigging.