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International and Human Rights Watch are asking NGO’s across Africa to join the call to President Robert Mugabe, to investigate and resolve the circumstances around Itai Dzamara’s enforced disappearance. Below is a brief background of Itai Dzamara and the full text of the petition.

Dear Partners, Colleagues, Friends

Please sign on to this petition by indicating the name of the organisation and country. We would like to receive your signatures before 30 November 2015. The Petition will be delivered to the office of the President and a copy sent to the Parliament of Zimbabwe.

For any clarification, do not hesitate to contact me: Vongai Chikwanda on [email][email protected] or Simeon Mawanza on [email][email protected]
Best wishes,


Itai Dzamara, journalist, pro-democracy activist and leader of the protest group Occupy Africa Unity Square, disappeared at a barber shop on the morning of 9 March in Harare’s Glen View suburb. He was abducted by five men, driving a white truck with concealed registration number plates. The men accused him of stealing cattle before handcuffing him and taking him away.

Occupy Africa Unity Square (OAUS) is a pro-democracy protest group formed in 2014. Africa Unity square is located in Harare City Centre, adjacent to Parliament and a few blocks away from the President’s Office. As the leader of the OAUS protest group, Itai Dzamara had submitted a petition to President Mugabe in October 2014 calling on him to resign. OAUS staged a sit-in protest in Harare’s Africa Unity Square, a park adjacent to Parliament.

Itai Dzamara had previously been targeted by state security agents, beaten, abducted and unlawfully detained.

Following his disappearance, Itai Dzamara’s family made a report to the Glen Norah Police Station. Since then no meaningful investigation has taken place, as evidenced by the absence of any comprehensive reports submitted by the authorities to the courts. Reports by the state-controlled Herald newspaper on police reports to the High Court. His whereabouts remain still unknown.


His Excellency, President Robert Gabriel Mugabe President of the Republic of Zimbabwe
We the undersigned civil society organisations across Africa join Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in calling on you as the Head of State and Government of Zimbabwe to direct the government to take all measures necessary to establish the fate and whereabouts of Itai Dzamara. We call on you to promptly establish a commission of inquiry into the enforced disappearance of Itai Dzamara and ensure that those suspected of criminal responsibility are brought to justice in fair trials. The pro-democracy activist has not been accounted for since his disappearance on 9 March 2015.

Itai Dzamara, 36 years old, was deprived of his liberty by unidentified men on the morning of 9 March 2015 while at a barber shop in Harare’s Glen View suburb. Witnesses say that the men accused Itai of stealing cattle, after which they handcuffed him, and forced him into a white truck, which had concealed number plates, before driving off.

On 13 March 2015, the High Court of Zimbabwe ordered the Minister of Home Affairs, the State Security Minister, the Commissioner-General of Police and the Director General of the Central Intelligence Organization to investigate the report of Itai’s disappearance and to report progress of their searches each fortnight to the Registrar of the High Court by 1600 hrs on Friday until his whereabouts are determined.

We note that Itai Dzamara had previously been targeted by state security agents, beaten, abducted and unlawfully detained. While on 9 March 2015 those who deprived him of his liberty did not identify themselves as state security agents and did not wear uniforms. Other activists have been previously abducted in similar manner by unknown perpetrators who later turned up to be state security agents.

We express our concern at the paucity of detail contained in the reports sent so far by the police to the Registrar of the High Court. The reports are inadequate and perfunctory, providing no substantive details of steps taken by the police except to confirm that investigations into Dzamara’s disappearance are underway.

• We urge you to take all measures necessary to establish the fate and whereabouts of Itai Dzamara 

• We urge your High Office to intervene and set up an independent judge led Commission of Inquiry into the disappearance of Itai Dzamara with powers to subpoena witnesses. The findings of the Commission of Inquiry must be made public and those suspected of being implicated brought to justice in fair trials. 

• We urge Zimbabwe to accede to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and recognise the competence of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances to receive and consider communications from or on behalf of victims or other states 

*The signatories below represent a wide breadth of national and regional human rights advocates, women's rights organizations, faith-based and secular organizations in Africa