Take Action for Itai Dzamara
On the morning of 9 March 2015, human rights defender Mr Itai Dzamara was abducted by five unidentified men while at a barber shop in Harare's Glenview suburb. The human rights defender's whereabouts remain unknown, and his spouse has filed a missing person report with the local police.
Itai Dzamara is a prominent journalist and organiser of the Occupy Africa Unity Square, a peaceful sit-in launched in October 2014 to demand accountability from the Zimbabwean government for its “failure to satisfy the needs of its people.” The movement has held regular protests since its creation in 2014.
According to reports, the human rights defender was forced into a white Isuzu vehicle with a blurred registration number plate by five unidentified men. Since his disappearance, Itai Dzamara's mobile phone has been switched off and his family has not heard from him.
Itai Dzamara has faced various threats in the past as a result of his pro-democracy work, including being violently assaulted by police and arbitrarily arrested in November 2014. The reasons behind the abduction remain unclear.
I express my grave concern for the physical and psychological integrity and security of Itai Dzamara. Given his leading role in the Occupy Africa Unity Square movement, I fear that the abduction may be linked to Itai Dzamara's peaceful and legitimate human rights activities.
I urge the authorities in Zimbabwe to:
- Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the abduction of Itai Dzamara, with a view to bringing those responsible for justice in accordance with international standards;
- Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Itai Dzamara;
- Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Zimbabwe are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.