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HUMAN RIGHTS organisations have said delays by the government to establish the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission are a clear sign of the regime’s unwillingness to account for the atrocities it committed over the past 35 years.

Some of the atrocities which ZANU (PF) stands accused of perpetrating include the 1980s Gukurahundi genocide which claimed over 20 000 lives in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces and the 2005 Operation Murambatsvina which displaced thousands.

In a statement commemorating the International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross human rights Violations and the Dignity of victims, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said ZANU (PF) should prove its innocence through establishing the NPRC.

The country’s Constitution, adopted almost two years ago, provides for a framework for truth recovery, national healing and reconciliation through the establishment of independent commissions, one of which is the NPRC.

If established the NPRC will be mandated to ensure, among other functions, post conflict justice, healing and reconciliation and to bring about national reconciliation by encouraging people to open up about the past and facilitating the making of amends and provision of justice.

“The right to truth is yet to be realised in Zimbabwe despite the various episodes of violations characterizing our history”.

“The slow progress towards the implementation of the Constitution has however continued to throw some doubt over the government’s sincerity towards issues of truth, justice and accountability,” said the coalition of rights lobby organisations, Monday.

The organisations said government’s reluctance to promote democracy and human rights was further exhibited by the ‘forced’ disappearance, three weeks ago, of journalist-cum social rights activist Itai Dzamara whose whereabouts remain unknown.

“As we commemorate this day, the Forum is deeply concerned with the resurgence of cases of abductions in the country.

“It is the duty and obligation of the State to protect and guarantee human rights, to conduct effective investigations and to guarantee effective remedy and reparations.

“We further call upon the government to take all necessary measures to ascertain Itai Dzamara’s whereabouts to investigate fully the circumstances surrounding his adductions and ensure that those responsible for the abductions are brought to account and to ensure that his family, friends and colleagues are updated of any progress regarding the investigations”.

Source : New Zimbabwe

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