by Sarah Hager, Country Specialist, Amnesty International USA
Two years ago this week, on March 9th, Itai Dzamara disappeared. He was in a barber shop when 5 men stormed in and dragged him away. He has not been seen or heard from since. It is widely believed those who abducted him are affiliated with state security forces. His family wants to know what happened. They want to know #WhereIsItai.
Itai was an activist. He regularly stood in a park called Unity Square in the capital of Harare. It is near Parliament and the offices of President Mugabe. Itai led protests with a movement called Occupy Africa Unity Square, demanding accountability from the government for its actions. Zimbabwe regularly commits human rights abuses and is accused of widespread corruption. Itai wanted his government to do better.
In the past 2 years, little effort has been made to ensure Itai’s return despite a court order granted requiring the government to properly investigate his disappearance. His wife and children are devastated by his absence. Itai’s brother has been beaten and arrested several times related to his activism in demanding information about Itai and the status of a government that can allow events like this to occur.
On the anniversary of his disappearance, we are demanding the government properly investigate what happened and provide an accounting to his family. We demand either his return or answers. We demand the individuals involved be held to account.
Email President Mugabe (firstname.lastname@example.org) and remind him a Zimbabwe court ordered the government to investigate Itai’s disappearance. Urge him to ensure Zimbabwe honors its human rights obligations, cease committing human rights violations, and provide Itai’s family a small solace in knowing what happened to their loved one.