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Transitional Justice Outreach Report


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Transitional Justice Outreach Report

  1. 1. Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora Outreach Report Volume One
  2. 2. © 2012. Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum Published by The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum International Liaison Office, 56–64 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4LT E-mail: <>. P.O. Box 9077, Harare 8th Floor Blue Bridge North, Eastgate, Harare Telephone: +263 4 250511; Fax: +263 4 250494; E-mail: <>
  3. 3. Contents Executive Summary 1 Preface 3 Acknowledgements 5 Transitional Justice within Zimbabwe 6 Transitional Justice Outreach to the Diaspora 8 REPORTS England and Wales East London 12 Central London 14 Leicester 16 Birmingham 18 Manchester 21 Bristol And Cardiff 24 Southend 25 Northern Ireland Londonderry 28 The Netherlands Utrecht 32 Appendix: Schedule of Participants and Venues 35 About the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum 36
  4. 4. Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 1 Executive Summary Since 2010, the Forum’s International Liaison Office (“IntLO”) has been undertaking consultative workshops with Zimbabweans based in the United Kingdom and mainland Europe to gather their views and recommendations on the Zimbabwe situation, with a focus on transitional justice. By complementing efforts which had started within Zimbabwe, the Transitional Justice Outreach to the Diaspora programme sought to reach out and consult with Zimbabweans in the diaspora who have lost their right to participate in shaping social and political processes in Zimbabwe. The voices of displaced and disenfranchised Zimbabweans are crucial in the realisation of the Forum’s mission to reduce organised violence and torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment; to challenge impunity and to foster a culture of accountability and the building of institutions of non-violence, tolerance and the respect for human rights in Zimbabwe. A substantial number of Zimbabweans in the diaspora fled from organised violence and torture to countries that promised them tolerance and respect for human rights. However, some of them find themselves as victims on the margin of their new societies, without proper immigration status or the right to work, and with slim prospects of ever being reconciled with their families. Throughout the outreach exercise, the need to be acknowledged as victims came out as the over­ arching demand of Zimbabweans in the diaspora. Armed with that new identity they would like to play a crucial role in shaping a new dispensation in Zimbabwe premised on the respect for human rights, tolerance and democracy. Those who participated in the workshops largely felt that, in addition to being victims of political violence and human rights abuses, they also lost their inalienable right to citizenship and the right to vote. They are now demanding these rights back. Whether they subsequently return or not, diasporan Zimbabweans are demanding that a credible, transparent and non-partisan framework should be instituted, which should first uncover the exact truth behind past human rights violations and hold the architects of such violations to account. Secondly, they want this framework to provide for the compensation of victims and their communities so as to bring a measure of justice and restoration. Further, for a measure of healing to occur within affected communities, diasporan Zimbabweans called for victim-centred and locally driven mechanisms that must be married to a multi-disciplinary knowledge base. The mechanisms, they said, must address cross-cutting issues pertaining to gender and ethnic inclusion. However, before this new framework is instituted, they called for repressive institutions, frameworks and laws to be reformed or renewed in order for them to serve public good. They said that “such self-serving and partisan institutions”, which include the police, security services, the birth and deaths registry, the electoral registry, the Attorney-General and the judiciary, are an antithesis to the proposed new framework. The current framework and the proposed one are mutually exclusive and cannot co-exist side by side.
  5. 5. 2 Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 A substantial section of participants felt that, since a complete overhaul of the institutions is required, those who have participated in past human rights violations should not undertake such an exercise. To achieve this, there is need for a free and fair election to ensure that those who craft and preside over new institutions have the people’s mandate to do so. The Zimbabwean diasporans have a strong conviction that they can and should have an equal part to play in crafting the framework within which substantive recommendations that constitute this and previous reports can sit and take strength. However, they cannot play a role in this crucial exercise unless their right to nationality and to vote is constitutionally guaranteed. It is this right that primarily makes the Zimbabwean diaspora’s narrative unique.
  6. 6. Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 3 PREFACE A central feature of Zimbabwe’s human rights catastrophe has been the mass exodus of its citizens to neighbouring countries and further afield, including to Europe and in particular to Britain. While the exact figure maybe difficult to ascertain, it has been estimated by credible organizations that about four million Zimbabweans now live in the diaspora. The county’s economic collapse was a direct result of the government’s policies. It is not always easy to distinguish the motives of those who have gone, and what they would want to see if they went back, unless one asks them. This Report constitutes part of that asking process, and is recognition of the fact that the diaspora has an important part to play in Zimbabwe’s future. The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the “Forum”) has put a lot of energy into reaching out to the survivors of human rights violations that remain inside Zimbabwe. The current Report is the record of an additional project to do so to those outside the country. In Europe and especially in Britain the work has been conducted by the Forum’s London-based International Liaison Office (“IntLO”). The aim has been to capture what Zimbabweans abroad regard as their human rights priorities, hopes and demands, and to feed these into the on-going internal struggle. At the heart of the abuse of human rights in Zimbabwe, both before and since independence in 1980, is impunity for those who have committed crimes against humanity, torture and other gross violations. Violent state and state-sponsored criminals who get away with their crimes will continue to commit violence for so long as they are not brought to justice. Survivors of endemic abuse and the relatives of those who have not survived continue to wait for the perpetrators to be brought to book, for reparations and for the circle of violence to be broken. The vast majority of Zimbabweans want a decisive break with the vicious past, the creation of a state no longer tolerant of killing and maiming for political causes, and the guilty to be held accountable. The right to justice for sufferers of gross human rights violations has been universally recognized since the end of World War II. In Zimbabwe, both prior to and after 1980, civil society activists striving for a more tolerant country have known that it is essential to advocate for the views of the direct and indirect targets of violent abuse. If those who have borne the brunt of egregious state crimes are not brought squarely into the process then those individual victims will be marginalized and society as a whole will lack the impetus to create institutions to avoid recurrence. Justice is an end in itself for those who have suffered injustice, but it is also the glue which can help people live more peacefully together and a weapon against demagoguery and terror. While the campaign for accountability will continue to be driven from inside Zimbabwe, those outside are a vital constituency whose voice needs to be clearly heard. Many suffered greatly before leaving, and they are as deserving of justice as those who are still there. It is important, therefore, that this Report is widely circulated inside and outside Zimbabwe and factored into the painful transition towards democracy and peace. The Forum and its nineteen member organisations and many other partners have a proud record of standing up for those trampled on by the state, and
  7. 7. 4 Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 it is vital that this work continues until their aims have been achieved. Those in the diaspora who wish to return will then do so, safe in the knowledge that there is indeed a real prospect of obtaining justice, including reparations, and even a measure of healing. Kevin Laue Chairperson: International Liaison Office of Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum April 2012, London, United Kingdom
  8. 8. Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 5 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The International Liaison Office of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum wishes to acknowledge and appreciate the assistance given by partner organisations and Zimbabwean diasporan community-based organisations in the England and Wales, Northern Ireland and mainland Europe. These were the Bristol Zimbabwe Association, the Council of Zimbabwean Christian Leaders in the UK, the Leicester Zimbabwe Association, the Southend Zimbabwean Network, the Transitional Justice Unit of the University of Ulster, the Zimbabwe Vigil, and Zimbabwe Watch in the Netherlands. We are especially grateful for the invaluable advice, assistance and partnership of the Zimbabwe Association who helped us to identify some of the key centres of the Zimbabwean diaspora and enabled us to link up and partner with Zimbabwean community leaders and diasporan groups across the UK. We also wish to acknowledge the wonderful support of our colleagues in the Forum, especially in the Forum’s Transitional Justice Unit in Zimbabwe. We also wish to express our gratitude to a number of our member organisations who assisted us as facilitators in our consultative workshops. These include the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU). Our thanks go to the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum in South Africa, who partnered with us in beginning to hold an initial and exploratory series of outreach activities with Zimbabweans in Southern African region. These outreach activities are not reported on this report as they served more to introduce the concept of transitional justice to Zimbabweans in the region. During 2012 the Forum plans to build on this exploratory work by holding a series of outreach workshops in countries in the Southern Africa region beyond Zimbabwe’s borders. Last but not least, this work would not have been possible without the generous support of our funding partners. We are grateful for their continued support of our vision.
  9. 9. 6 Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE WITHIN ZIMBABWE Violence and impunity in Zimbabwe have been the legacy of political upheaval since pre-colonial times. The War of Liberation, Gukurahundi, the land-redistribution programme, Operation Murambatsvina, and every major event within the country have proven violent. The consequences of that violence have been borne by ordinary Zimbabweans. As always, the most important task for a society emerging from conflict or crisis is one of rebuilding. In developing nations, the often- scant resources are historically allocated to the recovery of economic and physical infrastructure to the detriment of the social institutions that form the basis of any stable society. In arguably the first positive attempt to break this cycle of violence, the principals of Zimbabwe’s three main political parties committed themselves to working towards the promotion of equality, national healing, and unity through the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) on 15 September 2008. Article VII of the agreement focuses on “Equality, National Healing, Cohesion and Unity” and states: 7.1 The Parties hereby agree that the new Government: a. will ensure equal treatment of all regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, place of origin and will work towards equal access to development for all; b. will ensure equal and fair development of all regions of the country and in particular to correct historical imbalances in the development of the regions; c. shall give consideration to the setting up of a mechanism to properly advise on what mechanisms might be necessary and practicable to achieve national healing, cohesion and unity in respect of victims of pre and post independence political conflicts; and d. will strive to create an environment of tolerance and respect among Zimbabweans and that all citizens are treated with dignity and decency irrespective of age, gender, race, ethnicity, place of origin or political affiliation. e. will formulate policies and put measures in place to attract the return and repatriation of all Zimbabweans in the Diaspora and in particular will work towards the return of all skilled personnel.1 This inclusion of Article VII in the GPA signalled that the principals and their parties had recognised that, in order for people to come to terms with Zimbabwe’s harrowing past, a process of forgiveness, acceptance of responsibility and reconciliation was a prerequisite to the rebuilding of a recognized and viable democracy. More so, recognition that comprehensive national healing is attainable or achievable through the inclusion of every Zimbabwean, including those in the diaspora, is a valuable achievement in this discourse. This is reinforced by the added equation of accountability plus judicial independence, resulting in strong networks of collective engagement, trust, reconciliation, integration and collective national healing. However, since the signing of the GPA, although there have been some improvements in the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans, their freedoms are still being impinged upon. The people’s right to congregate and associate continues to be severely curtailed through draconian legislation such 1  “Agreement between the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations on resolving the challenges facing Zimbabwe”, 15 September 2008.
  10. 10. Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 7 as the Public Order and Security Act [Chapter 11 : 17] and Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act [Chapter 9 : 07]. Similarly the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act [Chapter 10 : 27] continues to hinder the majority of Zimbabweans’ right to information. Gross violation of human rights continues, and after the GPA the country has also witnessed violations of the less-monitored economic, social, and cultural rights. For example, the discovery of extractive mineral resources such as those found in Chiadzwa has led to gross human rights violationsofthelocalcommunitiesthroughdisplacement,environmentaldegradation,plundering of resources and grand corruption.2 In addition, under the auspices of indigenisation, politically linked groups such as Upfumi Kuvadiki have destabilised the recovering economy through threats and attempts of illegal occupation and control of foreign-owned enterprises in the mining, manufacturing and agricultural industries, resulting in investor panic and uncertainty.3 Impunity is still firmly entrenched within the political process of Zimbabwe. Perpetrators of political violence from the 2008 elections have not been brought to book. The police and the judiciary have remained partisan, frustrating any efforts of the victims to seek redress. This has motivated the perpetrators to continue committing violent acts, as there is no fear of punishment and accountability. The infrastructure and structures of violence and human rights violations are still intact. Of late, political-party-linked militias such as Chipangano from Mbare have been terrorising neighbourhoods in the city of Harare calling for an end to the GPA and early elections.4 In other parts of the country ZANU(PF) party structures have been threatening to resuscitate the 2008 “reorientation” torture base camps. This has created a sense of uncertainty, fear and hopelessness in Zimbabweans in the country and those in the diaspora. As the country gets closer to the referendum on a new constitution and general elections, Zimbabwean civil society, in conjunction with churches and other religious groups, continues to engage the government of Zimbabwe through various forums, such as the Churches and Civil Society Forum.5 In the hope that there can be a framework for transitional justice, a closure to the past, and the prevention of a recurrence of violations against the people, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum’s International Liaison Office conducted consultative meetings with Zimbabweans in the diaspora as part of the Taking Transitional Justice to the People programme. Through these meetings the views, perceptions and recommendations of the diaspora communities were captured with the intention of feeding into that framework of transitional justice in Zimbabwe. Two hundred and forty-seven participants (127 males and 120 women) participated in these discussions (see Appendix). 2  Chiadzwa is an area rich in artisanal diamonds in the Manicaland region of Zimbabwe. The Chiadzwa communities were forcibly removed from the diamond fields and some were only meagrely compensated. Some are still waiting for government support or recompense after having lost their sources of livelihoods. 3  Upfumi Kuvadiki is a militant youth group with links to ZANU(PF). 4  Chipangano is a notorious ‘shadowy’ militant ZANU(PF) group from Mbare, which has been implicated in allegations of murder, violence, robbery, intimidation, coercion, looting and disrupting business, among many wrongs, in Harare. 5  The Churches and Civil Society Forum was set up in 2009 to facilitate national reconciliation and healing in a co- ordinated and harmonised manner.
  11. 11. 8 Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE OUTREACH TO THE DIASPORA The Forum’s International Liaison Office has not only complemented the strides made within Zimbabwe but has given a voice to displaced and disenfranchised Zimbabweans in the diaspora through consultative workshops, gathering their views and recommendations on the Zimbabwe situation, with a focus on transitional justice. The Transitional Justice Outreach to the Diaspora programme has sought to reach out and consult with Zimbabweans in the diaspora who have lost their right to participate in the governance of their country. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) estimated in a 2009 Country Profile Report that approximately four million Zimbabweans live in the diaspora.6 The majority of these displaced Zimbabweans are in the diaspora as a result of political, social and economic problems. The IOM states that, over the last decade, Zimbabwe has experienced political and economic upheaval leading to an unprecedented increase in emigration from the country, including a massive flight of human capital and irregular migration flows.7 However, a percentage of Zimbabweans in the diaspora have remained committed to their relatives through regular financial and material support. The Daily News reports that the Zimbabwean community in exile is contributing in excess of 5 billion rand (approximately US$600 m) annually to the Zimbabwean economy.8 The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Mid-Term Monetary Policy Review of July 2011, which states that by the end of the first half of 2011 the remittances from the diaspora had reached approximately US$138 million through official channels, confirms this. The majority of Zimbabweans in the diaspora are not recognised in the political processes taking place in the country, yet they contribute approximately 15% towards Zimbabwe’s total national budget.9 The Homelink platform and the Diaspora Bond, among other initiatives, have benefited the country significantly through remittances from diaspora communities at a time when the national economy was crippled.10 However, a group deemed critical to matters pertaining to the economy is not allowed to exercise its vote or influence the political process. While politicians in Zimbabwe continue to exclude this group of people from decision-making, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum believes that the views, perceptions and recommendations of Zimbabwe’s diaspora community on Zimbabwe’s situation have to be considered. The Forum appreciates and applauds Zimbabweans in the diaspora for not dissociating them­ selves from participation in policy and governance issues. By contributing to this Report, Zimbabwean people outside the country’s borders have taken steps to contribute directly to their nation’s well-being. The Forum takes up the challenge of ensuring that their participation and contributions carry equal weight and will inform policy-makers’ decisions. This is in line with the 6  <>. 7  ‘Mainstreaming Migration in the National Census 2012: Enumeration of Zimbabwean Diaspora’, IOM Press Release, 19 Jan. 2011, <>. 8  The Daily News, 12 March 2012. 9  In November 2011 the Minister of Finance unveiled a national budget of US$4 billion for the year 2012. 10  Homelink was launched in 2005 by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to offer an official avenue for Zimbabweans in the diaspora to transfer money to their relatives and investments in the country. The Diaspora Bond was introduced 2009 by the Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, to help re-capitalise the economy.
  12. 12. Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 9 recommendations of the 2003 Johannesburg symposium on Civil Society and Justice in Zimbabwe, that the survivors of persecution – be it political, social and or economic – regardless of where they are in the world, must shape the process of transitional justice in Zimbabwe. IntLO’s Transitional Justice Outreach to the Diaspora programme was launched at Chatham House, London, United Kingdom, on 3 February 2010. The Honourable Co-Minister of State for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration, Sekai Holland, delivered a keynote address at the launch event. The summary reports of the outreach process in the diaspora that followed this event are contained in the rest of this report. To date, Transitional Justice Outreach to the Diaspora workshops have been held in major towns and cities of the diaspora spread throughout England and Wales, Northern Ireland and mainland Europe. The choice of location was guided by where Zimbabwean communities are known to be in significant numbers. From February 2010 to November 2011 a total of nine consultative workshops were held. A total of 246 Zimbabweans participated.
  14. 14. 12 Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 EAST LONDON 1. AREA: EAST LONDON 2. VENUE: Royal House, 22–26 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1DX 3. DATE: 4 April 2010, 11.00 hours to 16.00 hours 4. SUPPORT GROUPS: Council of Zimbabwe Christian Leaders (CZCLUK) The Zimbabwe Association 5. PARTICIPANTS: No.: 50 Sex: 28 female, 22 male Age: 22–65, average 32 From: A cross-section of churches, women, political activists and refugees/people seeking asylum. 6. RECOMMENDATIONS i. Accountability • Accountability is critical for peace and national healing to occur. A female political violence survivor said: “If we are going to forgive, are the perpetrators going to accept what they have done?” ii. Truth Recovery • Truth recovery must be a priority and should encompass Zimbabwe’s different historical periods. “We must recognise the atrocities that took place during the country’s different historical periods, for example in the colonial era, and also the Gukurahundi atrocities” [elderly male]. • Victims’ stories should be truthfully recorded and retained [male]. • There is a need to reach out to elderly Zimbabweans who witnessed the atrocities first- hand and who were affected by what they saw. “Regarding Gukurahundi, many older people would be able to point to graves which have not yet been found. Elderly people especially in the rural areas should be asked what they saw and what they want, asking ‘how are we going to get the stories from old people?’ ” • Testimonies concerning violations of people in the diaspora should be collected and properly recorded since hearing the stories is an important part of truth recovery [male youth]. iii. Institutional Reform • There should be comprehensive institutional reforms to ensure that human rights violations never happen again. “Institutional strengthening is the best form of addressing past human rights abuses. By building strong institutions, we ensure that these things never happen again”. “In order for Zimbabwe to be healed the Church needs to put itself in order and cleanse Zimbabwe as the country itself needs cleansing” [a reverend].
  15. 15. Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 13 iv. Reparations • If sustainable peace is to occur, then survivors of political violence including those forced into exile need to be restored/recompensed to a position that they were in before the violation occurred [male survivor]. • Forgiveness is important for people to reconcile and unite but must be balanced by truth and reparations. “We Zimbabweans have been divided amongst ourselves in the past” [church-affiliated women]. v. Prosecutions • The state must be held to account. “I’m not just forgiving; I want justice for things which were an emanation of the state” [male participant]. Holding the state to account must involve the prosecution of perpetrators; ‘justice’ should be substituted for the word ‘prosecution’. Another argued, “we in the diaspora deal with prosecutions; we know why we fled” and said “if we don’t deal with the issue of prosecutions we are avoiding the issue” [middle-aged man]. • A special non-tribal commission should be set up to deal with the Gukurahundi massacres. A young man said, “Here in the diaspora this is a serious problem; some people don’t even want to accept that the Gukurahundi happened.” • The culture of impunity should be addressed. A middle-aged man commented, “The Clemency Order of 1998 is an attempt to wipe out accountability.” • “National Reports that were written on the Gukurahundi must be made public and used towards the prosecution of perpetrators. Most victims are not coming forward because there is still no acknowledgement of the Gukurahundi” [female participant]. vi. Gender • Gender considerations should be taken into account in order to recognise fully the specific issues affecting women. A young lady emphasised that “there is a need for psychological and family counselling to be made available. Women face various barriers and discrimination. In my case, I narrowly escaped being forcibly removed from school to go for ‘a quick training’ by a feared military brigade.” 7. OBSERVATIONS • The participants were pleased to note that their contributions would be added to those made by other Zimbabweans in the diaspora. Many participants were concerned with the Gukurahundi era atrocities, which remain unaddressed to date. A majority of participants called for some form of prosecution to take place as well as the publication of the findings of the Chihambakwe Commission and other commissions that investigated this era. • Truth recovery was a constant refrain by the participants, highlighting the need for the truth to be told about the Gukurahundi massacres and gross human rights violations.
  16. 16. 14 Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 CENTRAL LONDON 1. AREA: CENTRAL LONDON 2. VENUE: Meeting Room, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street 3. DATE: 1 July 2010, 11.00 hours to 16.00 hours 4. SUPPORT GROUPS: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, International Liaison Office 5. PARTICIPANTS: No.: 22 Sex: 11 female, 11 male Age: 21–61, average 32 From: Zimbabweans in the diaspora, churches, political activists. 6. RECOMMENDATIONS i. Amnesty • “There is only room for forgiveness if the perpetrator realises that they have done wrong … But if they believe that there is a right to kill, then there is no room for forgiveness” [elderly lady]. ii. Prosecutions • Domestic judicial remedies should take precedence, but must also be supplemented by international remedies. “The Rome Statute should be ratified and perpetrators should consequently be indicted in the International Criminal Court” [a female participant, supported by a group of other participants]. • “A domestic prosecution system would be better than taking a case to the international courts because it would have more impact domestically” [a young female participant]. iii. Truth Recovery • “The reports already written about past atrocities – for example, about the Gukurahundi massacres – and more recent human rights violations need to be publicised” [a reverend, supported by a young female participant]. • A public, transparent and victim-friendly mechanism should be instituted to ensure that all truth is recovered. Those who fail should be investigated and prosecuted [group consensual position]. • People should be accorded the right to access information about the past and the right to know where deceased victims are. “If the victims are dead, they should be exhumed and accorded decent burial; if they are alive, people ought to know where they are and what they are doing as a process of recovering the truth” [a young male participant]. iv. Institutional Reform • Institutional reform should be the “first step in the transitional justice process” [a female participant]. • All institutions require complete policy reforms. Only through the adoption of a programme aimed at institutional rebuilding will the country be better placed to achieve its long-term economic, social and political goals and become a democratic and fair state.
  17. 17. Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 15 • Partisan structures that have control over state activities and institutions that promote impunity should be dismantled. An elderly female participant said that “a fair judicial system is all we want, and the Attorney-General should be appointed by Parliament. This is something which should be reflected in the new constitution.” • “The terms of office should be governed by an Act of Parliament and be fixed, subject to conditions, such as if an official has committed a felony, he or she will be disqualified from the position” [a middle-aged man]. • “People in the diaspora must be recognised as Zimbabweans” [an elderly woman]. v. Reparations • An efficient, fair and transparent system of reparation and compensation is necessary in order to achieve national healing. • The state should be held responsible for the payment of compensation where individual perpetrators do not have the means to pay their victims, although “it is difficult to place a value on the life of an individual” [a young lady, supported by her group]. • “A truth and reconciliation commission should be set up and ensure that all victims are fairly compensated through monetary pay-outs.” Compensation could also be in the form of development assistance, and must also balance regional interest and needs. vi. Gender • There is need for a gender-sensitive approach and environment that specifically prohibits discrimination against women and also empowers them to participate fully in community and national activities. “Women should know their constitutional rights and laws should be enforced. Zimbabwe needs to face changes in society and keep up with such changes through consistent review and consultation” [a female participant]. • “Zimbabwe needs to strictly adhere to its implementation of international standards, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)” [a young female participant]. • A “gender commission”, which would represent the interests of women and oversee their treatment in society, should be established [a middle-aged male]. • There is a need to be tolerant and embrace diversity on the grounds of gender, sexuality and sexual orientation. 7. OBSERVATIONS • The conspicuousness of the recommendations about truth recovery, institutional reforms, gender and reparations in this discussion shows that the participants suffered in diverse ways and wanted a comprehensive process that would address these concerns. Transitional justice programmes would therefore be effective if all the critical issues outlined above were fully taken care of.
  18. 18. 16 Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 LEICESTER 1. AREA: LEICESTER 2. VENUE: Methodist Church, Bishop Street, Leicester 3. DATE: 20 August 2010, 11.00 hours to 16.00 hours 4. SUPPORT GROUPS: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, International Liaison Office The Zimbabwe Association 5. PARTICIPANTS: No.: 40 Sex: 18 female, 22 male Age: 21–65, average 30 From: Zimbabwean members of the Zimbabwe Association and attendees of the Zimbabwe Association drop-in centre in Leicester, the majority of whom are asylum-seekers or those with refugee status. 6. RECOMMENDATIONS i. Accountability • In holding people to account, there is a need to go back and review the abuses, starting from 1980 right up to present. “Although there have been human rights abuses before 1980, for ease of records we should start from this period so we can get the necessary information and supporting evidence” [a middle-aged man]. ii. Truth Recovery • Truth recovery is an essential process for victims to feel that they have been recognised, respected and ultimately that “justice would have been done as well as seen to have been done” [participants]. • Perpetrators should give reasons as to why they committed the crime. A middle-aged female participant observed that “reasons must be clear and explained by the perpetrators during the process of truth recovery”. • There should be a wide interpretation of who should be classed as a “victim” of abuse [a middle-aged female participant]. However, “adopting a wide definition of who is a victim would mean that potentially everyone could be classed as a victim. This would cause administrative and monetary problems” [a young male participant]. iii. Institutional Reform • Institutional reform is the first step to achieving peace in Zimbabwe. • A people-driven constitution is a priority in order to realise real and positive change [participants]. • There needs to be a complete overhaul and reform of state institutions, including the police, state agents and the judiciary. • Human rights abusers should be removed from positions of power and taken to “a fair and independent court” [consensual group position]. • There is need for a number of reforms with regard to the media. “The media in
  19. 19. Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 17 Zimbabwe must be independent and free, allowing stories to be told from different angles and opinions to be expressed freely and without fear of persecution” [a male participant]. iv. Reparations • Victims must be adequately recompensed and reparations should be adequate and meaningful. “Every case should be awarded according to merit” [a young female participant]. • There is room for localised community initiatives where people can meet peacefully and collectively to discuss and express their views on the most effective form of reparations in their respective situations. “The locality of such bodies would ensure that they effectively acknowledge, understand and support the situation of victims in the local community” [an elderly female participant]. • Well-resourced and accessible counselling is imperative for both men and women in the reparations process. • Special measures should be considered for children. “We should look closely at those children who have been victimised. In these cases, school fees should be met by the state as a way of compensation” [a young female participant]. v. Memorialisation • Memorialisation should be a public process. “Victims need to be respected. Our country at present simply disregards victims, failing to listen to and support those who have suffered torture and abuse” [a male participant, supported by a majority of participants]. • Memorialisation should be victim-driven, non-partisan and cover all the regions; “victims should be the ones who decide what processes and mechanisms should be adopted, and monuments should be built in districts and small towns so that the local people are given a respectful way of remembering loved ones” [a middle-aged female participant]. vi. Gender and Other Considerations • Gender considerations are crucial and should be given attention in Zimbabwean society. A female participant, remarked: “Women should be treated equal to men both in the availability of opportunities and in everyday treatment in society. Women should be able to take up seats in Parliament and become more active in securing prominent positions in society.” • ‘It is imperative to include women in the transitional justice process, especially those women who have been left stigmatised following rape or other traumatic ordeal” [a group of female participants]. 7. OBSERVATIONS • It appears the overriding concern was for people to be compensated for the harm they suffered as a result of violence in Zimbabwe. Most participants were direct victims of violence and would prefer to be compensated for their losses. There was a considerable gap in knowledge concerning the differing forms of reparations. Outreach programmes on transitional justice mechanisms could address this. It is interesting to note that there was a lack of discourse on direct diaspora concerns.
  20. 20. 18 Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 BIRMINGHAM 1. AREA: BIRMINGHAM 2. VENUE: Holloway House, Dudley Port, Birmingham 3. DATE: 21 August 2010, 11.00 hours to 16.00 hours 4. SUPPORT GROUPS: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum International Liaison Office The Zimbabwe Association 5. PARTICIPANTS: No.: 26 Sex: 23 female, 3 male Age: 26–66, average 34 From: The participants were composed largely of Zimbabwean women seeking asylum and those with refugee status. Most were active with the Zimbabwe Association Birmingham Drop-in Centre. 6. RECOMMENDATIONS i. Accountability • Accountability is necessary to achieve a fully restored and democratic state. A group of young female participants said: “Holding people to account allows for the acceptance of responsibility and enables victims to feel that justice has been done.” • Perpetrators should be brought to justice and held to account through an “independent, impartial commission, free of government influence and control” [a group of female participants]. • Granting amnesty for human rights violations undermines the system of justice and accountability. • The transitional justice process should address both current and past concerns of violations dating back to 1980 and the colonial times. ii. Truth Recovery • Truth recovery is an essential exercise for victims to feel that they have been recognised and their past suffering formally acknowledged. A middle-aged male participant noted that “a recovery process should be carried out to seek the truth without the political parties involved in making an appropriate assessment of the impact”. • Participants said people should be accorded their right to free speech to enable them to be free to come forward without the fear of reprisals. • The process of truth recovery should be made public with the consent of victims and their families. “Victims and survivors of abuse and torture should be made aware of the stories of other victims” [a young female participant]. • There is an underlying need for re-educating society on the importance and morality of truth-telling [group of female participants]. • The process of truth recovery should be adequately resourced to enable it to be all- encompassing, fully functional and protect victims [group consensus].
  21. 21. Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 19 iii. Institutional Reform • Institutional reform can be achieved only when the political climate has changed and there is a new government in power and a new constitution. “Our problem is in the constitution ... that our present constitution is not favourable ... executive powers should go” [an elderly female participant]. • People should be equally involved in the process of reforming institutions: “All humans should be treated with equal respect, regardless of their colour, gender, race, nationality or religion. To become the Zimbabwe we used to know, the one we are proud of; Zimbabwe should abide by the rule of law ... first and foremost” [an elderly female participant]. • There is a great need for media reform in Zimbabwe, which must in no way be politicised as is the situation at present. • Police services, armed forces and the judiciary should respect equality and the sanctity of human life. iv. Reparations • “Reparations are important as there is a need to compensate survivors of violence” [a group of participants]. • “Reparation is necessary in regaining the dignity and respect of people” [an elderly female participant]. • The compensation system must take into account the country’s financial difficulties and could be symbolic; only those that lost a sum of money or source of income should be awarded monetary pay-outs and this should be done openly and transparently. v. Memorialisation • Memorialisation is essential for closure and healing. “A memorial date could be set aside in and beyond Zimbabwe to remember those who lost their lives as a result of violence” [group consensus]. • “Shrines should be built in remembrance of victims of gross human rights violations” [a middle-aged man]. vi. Reconciliation and Healing • Psychosocial support is essential in the restoration process. Counselling is required for victims to tell their story openly, to heal and receive psychological support afterwards. “There are no mechanisms in place to ensure this support is given” [a female participant]. • There is need to take into account the cultural practices and customs of the different regions, provinces and districts in Zimbabwe to fully understand the local way of dealing with the healing process [a number of elderly female participants]. • The cycle of violence must be ended. “The present government has to take part in this reconciliation process, by implementing measures recognising that it has to start afresh with ending the cycle of violence, abuse and intimidation” [a group of young female participants].
  22. 22. 20 Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 vii. Gender • Gender should be considered as a cross-cutting issue in the transition process to ensure that men and women are on an equal footing. “Males and females should stand on equal footing in all areas of society rather than one gender taking precedence over the other or being silenced. This should be prescribed in the constitution” [an elderly female participant]. • Women should be equally represented in society by taking seats in Parliament and working in the armed services. “In every committee dealing with transitional justice, women should be represented and appointed from all spheres of life, even those who have been stigmatised and shunned should be able to have a voice in Zimbabwe’s affairs” [a middle-aged female participant]. • Harmful cultural practices should be reformed. “Traditions such as giving a young girl away to compensate another family as a symbolic reparation should be done away with. Not only does this very practice devalue women, but also it demonstrates that we as a society cannot move forward in treating women equally. If we do this, males will see us as equals too. We can only do this by acting equal as women” [a young female participant]. 7. OBSERVATIONS • As a result of the gender imbalance of the participants, the issue of gender mainstreaming within transitional justice processes was more popular. This shows that women have specific concerns that they want addressed as a precondition for any meaningful national recovery and the non-recurrence of these violations.
  23. 23. Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 21 MANCHESTER 1. AREA: MANCHESTER 2. VENUE: Salvation Army Hall, 71 Grosvenor Street, Manchester M13 9Ub 3. DATE: 2 July 2011, 14:00 hours to 18.00 hours 4. SUPPORT GROUPS: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum: International Liaison Office and Zimbabwe Association – Manchester Drop-in Centre. 5. PARTICIPANTS: No.: 37 Sex: 14 female, 23 male Age: 25–50, average 30; nine people were over 50 years old. From: All the participants were Zimbabweans in the diaspora. The group was composed largely of asylum-seekers and refugees and those active in Manchester with the Zimbabwe Association. 6. RECOMMENDATIONS i. Accountability • Respect of the rule of law and accountability were fundamental to addressing the culture of impunity. “Everybody has to know that the international community is sick and tired of Zimbabwe because we don’t seem to understand what the rule of law is. The police and the army have no law. In Zimbabwe we have had scenarios where people commit crimes – political parties commit a crime and they get away with it” [male participant]. ii. Truth Recovery • A truth and reconciliation commission should be put in place. Several participants were adamant that this should be followed by prosecutions. iii. Institutional Reform • The Judiciary • The independence of the judiciary should be restored, and the executive should not control the judiciary. • The president should not appoint judges because, as one contributor noted, their judgments have often reflected the fact that judges owe allegiance to the ‘ruling party’ or president. • Judges should not be compromised by tokens and benefits like plasma TVs and farms. • Judges must be more professional • Thequalificationsofjudgesandpublicprosecutorsshouldbereviewed.“Isometimes wonder if the judges and public prosecutors would be given jobs elsewhere outside Zimbabwe. If I were to become the President, none of them would qualify” [a male participant]. • Constitutional Reform • There is an urgent need for constitutional reform. • The monitoring and observation of elections should be incorporated in the new constitution.
  24. 24. 22 Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 • The Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act should be abolished; it gives wide-ranging powers to the President. • Freedom of assembly should be respected and the police should not stop people from assembling freely. • Elections • There is an urgent need for a new voters’ roll. • There is an urgent need for elections that are free and fair. • Violence, especially at election times, must be stopped. • Torture • The house was in agreement that the government of Zimbabwe should sign the Convention against Torture and the Rome Statutes of the International Criminal Court. iv. Youth • The youth should be trained in non-violent approaches to politics. • The youth should not be manipulated for political gain. • The coalition government should have an outreach programme in the rural areas, especially before the next elections, to teach youths not to be violent. v. Diaspora • The diaspora has a crucial role to play in the transition process. Zimbabweans in Manchester had strong feelings about the experience of being in the diaspora. One woman summed up a number of other contributions when she said that “people in the diaspora are having mental torture – it’s not physical torture like in Zimbabwe but we have double torture where we have been physically tortured at home and here we are having a mental torture.” • The diaspora should be accorded their voting rights and their names should be restored on the voters roll. • Diasporans should have the right to hold dual citizenship. • Perpetrators living abroad should be traced and brought to justice. vi. Reparations • There should be reparations for communities and individuals who were violated in Zimbabwe. • Practical regional development programmes should be the basis for reparations for marginalisation resulting from violence and ethnic conflicts – as one male participant noted, “deliberate lack of development in places like Matabeleland”. vii. Reconciliation and Healing • Ending violence is a prerequisite for a peaceful and prosperous future. One gentleman said: “We should put a lot of energy into seeing how we can reduce or minimise the violence that takes place in Zimbabwe, particularly during election periods. At the moment I think we should raise our energy to lobby the government to stop violence, which seems endless in our nation.”
  25. 25. Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 23 vii. Gender • The negligence of the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development in her duty to protect women should be highlighted. • Women need to be more vocal about gender-based violence. 7. OBSERVATIONS • The participants were concerned mainly with institutional reforms, particularly the judiciary and the constitution-making process. More attention may need to be given to these in the post conflict recovery in the country.
  26. 26. 24 Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 BRISTOL AND CARDIFF 1. AREA: BRISTOL AND CARDIFF 2. VENUE: Pierian Centre, 27 Portland Square, St. Paul’s, Bristol Bs2 8Sa 3. DATE: 17 September 2011 4. SUPPORT GROUPS: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, International Liaison Office 5. PARTICIPANTS: No.: 25 Sex: 9 female, 16 male Age: 2–60+ From: All the participants were Zimbabweans in the diaspora. 6. RECOMMENDATIONS i. Gender • There is a need to ensure equal opportunities for both men and women in the national reconstruction process. ii. Accountability • Perpetrators of human rights violations must be brought to book, tried and dealt with. An elderly male participant noted that “Gukurahundi atrocities should be classified as genocide and its architects punished”. • There is need to deal with corruption, to address its root causes and punish offenders. • There must be genuine equitable distribution of land. iii. Institutional Reform • The partisan culture of national institutions such as the judiciary must be addressed. • Electoral laws must be reformed. iv. Reparations • Compensation must be provided for victims of human rights violations. • Vocational training must be introduced for youths so that they participate effectively in the economy. v. General Governance • The rule of law must be restored. • Reforms must be made to promote multi-party democracy. • The constitution-making process must be people-driven and inclusive of the diaspora. • Laws must be put in place to ensure the participation of the diaspora in activities in Zimbabwe. • The diaspora must be allowed to vote in elections and constitutional referendum. • Dual citizenship must be reinstated. 7. OBSERVATIONS • Zimbabweans in the diaspora were keen to discuss issues such as transitional justice, constitution-making, and matters arising from their stay in the diaspora.
  27. 27. Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 25 SOUTHEND 1. AREA: SOUTHEND 2. VENUE: The Big Society, 106 A, Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, Sso 71P, Essex 3. DATE: 12 November 2011 4. SUPPORT GROUPS: Southend Zimbabwe Network, Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, International Liaison Office 5. PARTICIPANTS: No.: 16 Sex: 6 female, 10 male Age: 32–55, average 35 From: All the participants were Zimbabweans in the diaspora. 6. RECOMMENDATIONS i. Rule of Law • The rule of law must be restored as a way of promoting peace and security. ii. Institutional Reform • There must be reform of the security sector and the Registrar-General’s office. iii. Reparations • There is need to ensure that victims of past human rights violations are compensated. iv. Participation of Diaspora • Zimbabweans in the diaspora must be allowed to participate in governance. v. Accountability • Perpetrators of past human rights atrocities must be prosecuted. • Gukurahundi atrocities must be acknowledged and fully accounted for. 7. OBSERVATIONS • The Gukurahundi era was a huge talking point, with the majority of participants weighing in. This shows that the government of Zimbabwe needs to acknowledge the wrongs of the Gukurahundi period in recognition of the needs of the people and in order to adequately address that past.
  28. 28. Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 27 NORTHERN IRELAND
  29. 29. 28 Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 LONDONDERRY 1. AREA: LONDONDERRY 2. VENUE: Room MD050, Magee Campus, University of Ulster 3. DATE: 17 February 2011, 16.45 hours to 20.00 hours 4. SUPPORT GROUPS: University of Ulster, Transitional Justice Institute, Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, International Liaison Office 5. PARTICIPANTS: No.: 12 Sex: 8 female, 4 male Age: 26–49, average 37 From: Asylum-seekers, refugees, professionals and students based in Northern Ireland. 6. RECOMMENDATIONS i. Accountability • Perpetrators of human rights violations must be held accountable and punished. “Without prosecution we can’t move on, we keep on going back, which is the reason for the Matabeleland problems because no one was prosecuted for what they did” [a female participant]. • Recent and colonial history should be included in the curriculum to be taught to the children of Zimbabwe and remind everyone that this should never happen again [group position]. ii. Truth Recovery • The government and the perpetrators should admit to the crimes they committed. A group comprising a number of participants defined truth recovery as being “people owning up to what had actually happened, why they had done it, and if there were others backing them up to commit the crimes. They should go to a designated communal place, own up, and tell the crowd what they did and why. The driving forces for the crimes committed should be exposed.” • Known perpetrators who refute accountability should be apprehended and charged in court. “This should be done in community and traditional courts, where people would go to confess and as a result of the confession their sentence would be lightened. Experiences and lessons can be drawn from other African countries where this worked – for example, where in some cases people had gone as far as being forgiven or being sentenced and living beyond their past history” [group consensus]. iii. Institutional Reform • There is an urgent need for institutional reform. Such reforms should cover the judiciary, registry services, the security sector, and the media. In addition, there is need for reforms to the voting systems and electoral laws to enable Zimbabweans in the diaspora to vote from outside Zimbabwe and citizenship laws to allow dual citizenship [a young male participant].
  30. 30. iv. Reparations • Compensation must be wide enough to include not only those that have experienced physical violence but also victims of economic, emotional, social, and cultural rights abuse, e.g. people whose health deteriorated because of lack of health care, people who lost their loved ones, and people who were displaced [group consensus]. • The definition of victims should not be constructed narrowly but should include social groups who had not been perceived to be such. Therefore compensation should cover social groups such as diasporans who are not always captured in the traditional definition of victimhood [a middle-aged female participant]. • Careful consideration should always be given to whether compensation should be to the individual victim or community. A mixed group of participants suggested that “community compensation should take the form of building hospitals and roads in those areas that lacked development during the crisis”. • Restitution should attempt to restore people to the condition they were in before the violation occurred. v. Memorialisation • Shrines for people buried in mass graves should be constructed [group consensus]. • National commemorative days must not be partisan [a middle-aged male participant]. vi. Reconciliation and healing • The reconciliation process must be broad-based, victim-centred and inclusive. In particular, one female survivor emphasised that “young people should be included in particular because of my own exposure as a youngster in what happened in Midlands and Matabeleland in the 1980s. I still feel the wounds as a result of my own experience as a young person, because nothing was done to deal with what happened.” • The process should involve the main political parties, civil society organisations, churches, perpetrators, counsellors, traditional healers, professionals and chiefs as the pillars of the society 7. Observations • Discussion focused mainly on truth recovery and reparations. Although the discourse was very academic in nature, the participants appeared to be more interested in the processes that directly affected them and their relatives still in Zimbabwe.
  31. 31. Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 31 The Netherlands
  32. 32. 32 Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 UTRECHT 1. AREA: UTRECHT 2. VENUE: De Pietershof, Achter Sint Pieter 200, Nl3512ht, Utrecht 3. DATE: 23 February 2011, 11:00 hours to 16.00 hours 4. SUPPORT GROUP: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum International Liaison Office Zimbabwe Watch 5. PARTICIPANTS: No.: 19 Sex: 3 female, 16 male Age: 23–45, average 30 From: All the participants were Zimbabweans in the diaspora, many of whom were students from across the whole of the Netherlands who were studying at a selection of Universities. Two government of Zimbabwe representatives from the Zimbabwe Embassy in Brussels were also present. 6. RECOMMENDATIONS i. Accountability • Accountability is essential and achievable [a young male participant]. • The first step towards accountability must be the acknowledgment of having committed a crime or offence. “Offenders should come forward and admit to what they have done. There needs to be a point of reference – laws, convention, conducive environment and framework of accountability – which defines who is accountable and to whom” [group consensus]. • Accountability should be broad in scope and cover areas such as psychological torture, displacement and other forms of victimisation [group consensus]. ii. Truth Recovery • Truth recovery is essential. One group felt that “even though there is a need for truth, sometimes looking into the past can serve to further inflame a situation and cause further pain”. • A multi-disciplinary truth commission with a broad mandate must lead the truth recovery and national healing programme in country. “The expert committee should do the assessment and not the Organ on National Healing, which should be a steering tool, not an implementing tool of this particular process” [consensual view]. iii. Institutional Reform • A new constitution is necessary as the foundation for institutional reform [group consensus]. • There is need to develop institutional norms and ethics, or to reform the ones already in existence. This should include a code of conduct for the police, army, and prison guards. At the heart of these norms and ethics should be the consideration of and respect for human dignity.
  33. 33. Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 33 • The SADC Troika should deploy monitors at least six months before any major political event such as an election or referendum [a middle-aged male participant]. • Freedom of the media needs to be established [a mixed group of participants]. • The Electoral Commission needs to be restructured and the electoral system reformed to allow for free, fair, violence-free elections [group consensus]. • The diaspora should be able to vote [group consensus]. iv. Reparations and Restitution • Restitution should be customised to individual needs. As an example, one young ex- University of Zimbabwe student called out: “Who will compensate me for my lost degree from the UZ?” • Communities and/or individuals who experienced violence need rehabilitation. • People who have been displaced should be provided with the means and resources to rebuild [group consensus]. • Victims of political violence, e.g. health decline, rape, trauma, should be compensated [group consensus]. v. Memorialisation • The process of memorialisation should be victim-centred, non-partisan, and transparent [a female participant]. • An independent and non-partisan commission should be established to define who is a hero for the country and how they should be commemorated. • Monuments should be built to commemorate events such as Gukurahundi and the more recent political violence [group consensus]. • People must be allowed to express what has happened and remind people of it through the arts [a male participant]. vi. Reconciliation and Healing • A faith-informed truth and reconciliation commission should be set up [an elderly male participant]. • All political parties should have a stake in the process and their leaders must lead the nation by example, through making public apologies and seeking forgiveness for the wrongs they and their parties have committed. vii. Gender • There is a need for gender-specific support for women who were victims of abuse. 7. OBSERVATIONS • The meeting was made up mostly of students from Zimbabwe living in the Netherlands. A number of these students reported having been expelled from the University of Zimbabwe and as such their recommendations were informed by their personal experiences. • Because of the age factor in the workshop, there was little talk of Gukurahundi, and a greater focus was on the more recent abuses. • The representatives of the Zimbabwe Embassy in Brussels observed that the Forum’s
  34. 34. 34 Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 work on the transitional justice was very much in line with what the Zimbabwe government is doing, particularly through the Organ on National Healing. This, however, may not be correct since the Organ has produced no tangible outputs to date in the area of transitional justice. Recommendations to work with the government on transitional justice were acceptable. Participants seemed concerned with rhetoric and called for action.
  35. 35. Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 35 Appendix: Schedule of Participants and Venues Country City Female Male Average age Total attendance England and Wales East London 28 22 32 50 Central London 11 11 32 22 Leicester 18 22 30 40 Birmingham 23 3 34 26 Manchester 14 23 30 37 Bristol and Cardiff * 9 16 32 25 Southend 6 10 35 16 Northern Ireland Londonderry 8 4 37 12 Netherlands Utrecht 3 16 30 19 TOTAL 120 127 247 *The workshop encompassed the two cities of Bristol and Cardiff but was held in Bristol. Participants from Cardiff commuted to Bristol for the consultative meeting.
  36. 36. 36 Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora – Outreach Report, Volume 1 ABOUT THE ZIMBABWE HUMAN RIGHTS NGO FORUM The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (also known as the Human Rights Forum) is a coalition of nineteen human rights organisations. The Forum has been in existence since January 1998 when non-governmental organisations working in the field of human rights came together to provide legal and psycho-social assistance to the victims of the food riots of January 1998. The Human Rights Forum has four operational units: the Public Interest Unit, the Research Unit, the Transitional Justice Unit, and the International Liaison Office. The Human Rights Forum works in close collaboration with its member organisations to provide legal and psychosocial services to victims of organised violence and torture and to document all human rights violations, particularly organised violence and torture and politically motivated violence. Member Organisations of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum Amnesty International (Zimbabwe) Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe Justice for Children Trust Legal Resources Foundation Media Institute of Southern Africa Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe Non-violent Action and Strategies for Social Change Research and Advocacy Unit Student Solidarity Trust Transparency International (Zimbabwe) Women of Zimbabwe Arise Zimbabwe Association of Crime Prevention and the Rehabilitation of the Offender Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights Zimbabwe Human Rights Association Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights Zimbabwe Peace Project Zimbabwe Women Lawyers’ Association The Human Rights Forum can be contacted through any member organization or through: The Executive Director, P.O. Box 9077, Harare 8th Floor Blue Bridge North, Eastgate, Harare Telephone: +263 4 250511; Fax: +263 4 250494; E-mail: <> International Liaison Office, 56–64 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4LT E-mail: <>.
  37. 37. The culture of impunity in Zimbabwe can be traced back to the Rhodesian era. When one reflects on Zimbabwe’s history, it is clear that waves of violence have repeatedly ravaged peace-loving communities in the past, primarily because the voices of the victims have not been listened to, let alone taken into account, in addressing the causes of such violence. The mass exodus of Zimbabweans to the diaspora in the past decade has not quenched the victims’ voice but rather strengthened a united call for ‘truth recovery and accountability as critical prerequisites to sustainable peace, national healing and cohesion’. This call, which began in Zimbabwean villages and towns, is echoed abroad. In this Report, a huge section of diasporan Zimbabweans make it loud and clear to policy-makers that, although they have not traditionally been classed as victims, they actually are victims whose voices should be taken into account in re-birthing a new Zimbabwe.