Enforced disappearance of Ms. Jestina Mukoko - ZWE 008 / 1208 / OBS 206

06/12/2008
Urgent Appeal

December 4, 2008

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Zimbabwe.

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum about the abduction and subsequent enforced disappearance of Ms. Jestina Mukoko, Director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) and Board Member of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum.

According to the information received, on December 3, 2008, at 5 am, a group of 15 unidentified armed men, who were driving an unmarked vehicle with no registration numbers, abducted Ms. Jestina Mukoko from her home in Norton.

As of issuing this urgent appeal, the motive of the abduction, the identity of the abductors as well as her whereabouts remained unknown. In 2008, Ms. Jestina Mukoko has reported regularly on political violence that occurred in 2008 after the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), the party of President Robert Mugabe, was beaten in the first round of elections in March by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The Observatory is extremely concerned by Ms. Jestina Mukoko’s abduction as well as by the increasing harassment of human rights defenders in Zimbabwe, and recalls that according to Article 12.2 of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, "the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration".

Actions required:

Please write to the authorities of Zimbabwe urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Jestina Mukoko as well as of all human rights defenders in Zimbabwe;

ii. Take prompt action in order to locate her, make public her whereabouts, and ensure her immediate release;

iii. Put an end to all kinds of harassment against all human rights defenders in Zimbabwe;

iv. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which states that "everyone has the right, individually or collectively, to promote the protection and fulfilment of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels", as well as above-mentioned Article 12.2;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Zimbabwe.

Addresses:

President of Zimbabwe, Mr. Robert G. Mugabe, Office of the President, Private Bag 7700, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax : +263 4 708 211 / + 263.4.70.38.58
Mr. Khembo Mohadi, Minister of Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, 11th Floor Mukwati Building, Private Bag 7703, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax : +263 4 726 716
Mr. Patrick Chinamasa, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Fax: + 263 4 77 29 99 / +263 4 252 155
Mr. Augustine Chihuri, Commissioner General, Police Headquarters, P.O. Box 8807, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax : +263 4 253 212 / 728 768 / 726 084
Mr. Justice Bharat Patel, Attorney-General, Office of the Attorney, PO Box 7714, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax: + 263 4 77 32 47
Mrs. Chanetsa, Office of the Ombudsman Fax: + 263 4 70 41 19
Ambassador Mr. Chitsaka Chipaziwa, Permanent Mission of Zimbabwe to the United Nations in Geneva, Chemin William Barbey 27, 1292 Chambésy, Switzerland, Fax: + 41 22 758 30 44, Email: mission.zimbabwe@ties.itu.net
Ambassador Mr. Pununjwe, Embassy of Zimbabwe in Brussels, 11 SQ Josephine Charlotte, 1200 Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 96 05 / + 32 2 775 65 10, Email: zimbrussels@skynet.be.

Please also write to the embassies of Zimbabwe in your respective country.

***
Paris-Geneva, December 4, 2008

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.
The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
Email : Appeals@fidh-omct.org
Tel et fax FIDH : + 33 1 43 55 55 05 / 33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel et fax OMCT : +41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29

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