Harare, May 11, 2015, – The European Union (EU) has turned the heat on President Robert Mugabe’s administration in its demand for the government to thoroughly probe the whereabouts of Itai Dzamara, a pro-democracy activist and freelance journalist who has been missing for more than two months.
Dzamara, a father of two children, has been missing since 9 March when he was abducted by some unidentified men from his Harare residence. Since his disappearance, he has not been accounted for despite the police and other state security agents having committed to probe his whereabouts. It has taken the intervention of lawyers from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights to compel the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to provide some updates on their efforts to locate Dzamara. However, the lawyers’ group has protested that the updates are substandard as the ZRP has not detailed the people whom they have interviewed to date and the places that they have visited and checked in the search for Dzamara.
Now the EU has added more pressure on President Mugabe’s administration to do more to locate and account for the missing pro-democracy campaigner.
“We urge the Zimbabwean authorities to provide regular and thorough progress reports on their search for Mr Dzamara (as ordered by the High Court in March). We will continue to watch progress on this case closely. Human rights remain a pillar of all our bilateral relationships,” reads part of a statement issued by the EU.
The EU said it remains greatly worried that two months have passed without Dzamara being accounted for.
“The UE Delegation remains deeply concerned for his welfare and our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time. The EU reiterates its call on the Government of Zimbabwe to take all necessary measures to ascertain Mr Dzamara’s whereabouts, safeguard his wellbeing and accord him the full protection of the law, within its overall responsibilities of ensuring the safety of all its citizens. Furthermore, the EU calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure that those responsible for the abduction of Mr Dzamara are brought to justice,” the EU said.
Apart from the EU, the US, Canada and Australian governments have spoken out against the abduction of Dzamara and demanded action from the government to account for the missing human rights campaigner.
The 35 year-old Dzamara, an iconic figure in Zimbabwe’s pro-democracy movement was abducted in March by some unidentified men who were travelling in a white twin cab vehicle with a blurred registration number plate from a barber shop, where he was having a haircut in Harare’s high density suburb of Glenview. He has remained missing since then