On the Killing of an Activist and Reported Abductions of Several Others

Comment by UN Human Rights Office Spokesperson Liz Throssell

Tapfumaneyi Masaya, whose body was identified by CCC members at a mortuary. Photograph: Twitter

We deplore the killing in Zimbabwe of political activist Tapfumeyi Masaya whose body was found earlier this week. This concerning development comes amid reports in recent months of several opposition activists being kidnapped and tortured in Zimbabwe, where general elections were held in August and where parliamentary by-elections are due to take place on 9 December 2023.

Masaya, a pastor and an activist at the Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC), was kidnapped on 11 November 2023, along with fellow activist Jeffrey Kalosi, while they were campaigning for a CCC candidate. Both were reportedly tortured. Masaya’s body was found on 13 November about 30 km outside Harare. Kalosi was released in the same area.

We note that the authorities have said Masaya’s killing is being investigated. We urge them to ensure there are thorough, prompt and independent investigations not only into his death but also into all allegations of people being tortured and kidnapped, including to establish whether they were forcibly disappeared. Perpetrators should be held accountable in fair trials that follow due process.

The safety and security of all individuals, including victims and members of the political opposition, must be ensured. Such crimes violate not only the right to life, but also have a stifling effect on the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of association and equal participation. Authorities must guarantee these rights at all times.

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