United Nations (UN) human rights experts have called on Zimbabwe to immediately end a reported pattern of disappearances and torture that appear aimed at suppressing protests and dissent.
The call comes after three female Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC-A) members including a legislator were allegedly abducted, tortured and sexually assaulted.
The three Joana Mamombe, Cecelia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova were allegedly arrested and later abducted while coming from a demonstration in Warren Park on the 13th of May 2020.
Days after the alleged abduction, the trio appeared in court charged for violating COVID-19 regulations on public gatherings.
The UN experts say these charges should be dropped as they undermine freedom of association as enshrined in the human rights law.
“The charges against the three women should be dropped,” the experts said.
“Targeting peaceful dissidents, including youth leaders, in direct retaliation for the exercise of their freedom of association, peaceful assembly and freedom of expression is a serious violation of human rights law,” added the experts.
They further called on Zimbabwe to “urgently prosecute and punish the perpetrators of this outrageous crime and to immediately enforce a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ for abductions and torture throughout the country,” to ensure the effective protection of women against sexual violence, and to bring those responsible to account.