Re: Mr. Broderick Takawira, Mr. Pascal Gonzo, Mr. Zacharia Nkomo and Ms. Jestina Mukoko
To: President Robert G. Mugabe, and others
From: Charles B. Davison, member of LRWC
Once again Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) is writing to you to express our most serious concerns about recent abductions of human rights activists and defenders in your country. We understand that on December 8, 2008 Broderick Takawira and Pascal Gonzo, who are both involved with the Zimbabwe Peace Project, were abducted from their offices in Harare by at least five men. Furthermore, on December 5 Mr. Zacharia Nkomo, whose brother Harrison is a leading human rights lawyer, was abducted by four men from his home in Masvingo. In addition, Jestina Mukoko, about whose case we have previously written to you, remains “disappeared” at this time, and her whereabouts and condition are not known publicly.
As we have indicated in our past correspondence, LRWC is particularly concerned by these events as they seem to be part of a concerted effort by your government and its supporters to harass and persecute human rights defenders in Zimbabwe and to prevent them from carrying out their legal and professional responsibilities. We remind you of your government’s obligations under Article 12.2 of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, which guarantees to all persons involved in the defence of human rights the State’s protection from all forms of persecution, abuse, harassment and threats.
With all of that background, LRWC calls upon you and the government of Zimbabwe to immediately take all actions necessary to guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Mssrs Takawira, Gonzo and Nkomo, as well as that of Ms. Mukoko and all other human rights defenders in Zimbabwe. LRWC calls for the immediate identification and publication of the whereabouts of each of these human rights defenders and for their immediate release. All similar efforts to intimidate or persecute human rights defenders in your country must immediately cease, and those who have committed such actions in the past should be brought to justice without delay.