Johannesburg – The human rights situation in Zimbabwe is to be assessed this week by the UN Special Rapporteur Clement Voule, who is the first independent human rights expert to visit the country.
The 10-day visit comes as Zimbabwe’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Dr SB Moyo calls for an investigation into the growing number of politically-motivated abductions.
Voule will assess, among other issues, the continuing abduction of human rights activists and union leaders and the implementation of protection and freedom of association and peaceful assembly.
Doctors and nurses are currently on strike and protesting the disappearance of Doctor Peter Gabriel Magombeyi, acting president of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA), a union that represents health workers.
Dr Magombeyi sent a message to colleagues on Saturday saying he was being abducted by unknown persons.
Doug Coltart from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) lawyer said there have been 51 abductions this year alone.
“We now have 51 abductions just this year. It’s a massive concern, and all of these abductions follow a similar modus operandi, where people come – typically men in masks using military-grade weapons such AK-47s – break into people’s homes, abducting them and torturing them.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Dr SB Moyo, has urged the safe return of Dr Magombeyi to his family and called for a deeper investigation into the “culprits and the third force” behind the “heinous” crime” and the growing number of abductions “which seems to be creeping into our society”.
Speaking on Tuesday Moyo said the crime needed to be nipped in the bud once and for all.
He said Harare had been assured by the security agencies that investigations were under way.
Moyo appealed to all peace-loving Zimbabweans to cooperate with those investigating and to report any relevant information that leads to the doctor’s release and the perpetrators of the crime being brought to justice.
African News Agency/ANA