The Canon Collins Board of Trustees notes with grave concern the human rights situation concerning Joana Mamombe, Netsai Marova and Cecilia Chimbiri. Joana Mamombe is an alumna of the Canon Collins Trust. The three women are leaders within the Youth wing of the Zimbabwean main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC Alliance). It is reported that after leading a protest on 13 May 2020 in Harare, they were initially arrested by the police and were later on abducted from the police. They went missing for two nights until they were found on a roadside on the morning of Friday 15 May 2020, about 60 miles away from Harare and they were badly injured and traumatised. Joana Mamombe has reported that she has head injuries arising from being pushed out of a moving vehicle. The three have reported that they were tortured and sexually violated during the abduction.
The Canon Collins Board of Trustees notes that, at some point after the three women were reported to have gone missing, the police spokesperson confirmed to the state owned Newspaper (The Herald) that the police had arrested the three women for organizing and participating in an illegal protest. Further, the Canon Collins Board of Trustees notes the utterances from some senior government officials alleging that the three women faked their abduction. The Board condemns such utterances as irresponsible, callous and cruel.
The testimonies by Joana Mamombe, Netsai Marova and Cecilia Chimbiri that they were abducted and sexually abused before they were dumped by the roadside, implicate despicable and heinous human rights violations. The Canon Collins Board of Trustees notes that the testimonies of the three women come against a background of similar reports of abductions and forced disappearances which, to date, the government of Zimbabwe has failed to unravel and make known the findings of the investigations.
Further, the Canon Collins Board of Trustees notes the statement by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission which states in part that: “From the preliminary investigation, the Commission noted that the enforced disappearance of the three MDC-A officials removed them from the protection of the law.” The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission is an independent constitutional body established to protect and promote human rights. In light of the preliminary findings of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the seriousness of the testimonies by Joana Mamombe, Netsai Marova and Cecilia Chimbiri, the Canon Collins Board of Trustees reminds the Government of Zimbabwe of its international and domestic legal obligation to ensure the security of all people in Zimbabwe. In the event of breach of security of individuals, the Government of Zimbabwe has a legal duty to investigate and ensure that the perpetrators of such heinous crimes are brought to account. The Canon Collins Board of Trustees, therefore, calls upon the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure that a thorough and impartial investigation is conducted with the view of enabling the three women to obtain justice. The Canon Collins Board of Trustees continues to watch, with keen interest the human rights situation of our alumna Joana Mamombe and her three colleagues.
For more information, please contact Dr Justice Mavedzenge email firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr Mavedzenge is a trustee of the Canon Collins Trust.