-Veritas Zimbabwe

Wednesday, June 26, is International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, a day to stand with survivors or torture; to affirm their dignity and humanity; and to reflect on the prohibition of torture worldwide.

It is also a day to recognize the gap between the number of survivors who want help rebuilding their lives and seeking justice, and the limited resources available to assist them.

The day was selected by the United Nations General Assembly for two reasons. First, on 26 June 1945, the United Nations Charter was signed during the midst of World War II – the first international instrument obliging UN members to respect and promote human rights.

Second, 26 June 1987 was when the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment came into effect.

The theme for the 2024 United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is

“Voices Against Torture: A Call for Global Justice and Human Rights”.

The day is observed annually on June 26th to honour and support survivors and victims of torture, and to speak out against the crime.

This day serves as a powerful reminder of the ongoing atrocities endured by countless individuals globally and amplifies the urgent need for justice, empathy, and intervention.

This year, Veritas directs our attention towards the resilient victims of torture in Zimbabwe, who have suffered severe violations of their human rights.

We express our utmost condemnation of the inhumane practice of torture, which continues to be used as a method of coercion, intimidation, and punishment in Zimbabwe.

This gross violation of human dignity and international law must be addressed with utmost urgency.

Veritas remains resolute in its mission to support survivors of torture by providing them with essential medical, psychological, and legal assistance.

We work closely with partner organisations, healthcare professionals, and legal experts to ensure survivors are empowered to regain control of their lives, heal and rebuild shattered communities, and achieve a sense of justice.

On this International Day in Support for Victims of Torture, Veritas calls upon the government and policymakers to strengthen their resolve in preventing, investigating, and prosecuting any act of torture.

We urge the government to ratify and implement international treaties, such as the United Nations Convention against Torture (CAT) and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to create robust legal frameworks that effectively combat torture.

What is the Convention Against Torture [CAT]?

CAT is a United Nations convention which requires States to take effective measures to prevent torture within their territories and prohibits them from transporting or extraditing people to any country where there is reason to believe they will be tortured.

The text of CAT was adopted by consensus in the General Assembly of the UN on 10th December 1984. The Zimbabwean delegation was present, so presumably concurred in its adoption.

CAT came into operation on 26th June 1987, when it was ratified by the 20th member State.

Since then, the absolute prohibition against torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment has become accepted as a principle of customary international law [accepted by the international community as an absolute and non-derogable right].

An absolute” and “non-derogable” signifies that:

· No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

· An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

The Optional Protocol to CAT [OPCAT]

OPCAT adds another, more pro-active layer to the international framework against torture by emphasising prevention of torture by inspection of prisons and other places of detention as opposed to just reacting to torture by prosecuting and punishing its perpetrators.

On This Day

The government of Zimbabwe, human rights organisations, and the international community at large, must acknowledge and confront the systematic torture that takes place within the country.

It is incumbent upon the authorities to ensure that those responsible for these heinous acts are held accountable, regardless of their affiliation or position of power.

The victims of torture deserve justice, reparations, and comprehensive support systems that facilitate their healing and reintegration into society.

Veritas calls on all relevant stakeholders, including the Zimbabwean government, to uphold their international commitments, including adherence to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and to accede to CAT and OPCAT. We furthermore urge the government to take immediate actions to:

  1. Immediately set up the Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission (ZICC) to investigate reports of torture and related crimes perpetuated by the security services.

  2. Strengthen legal frameworks to criminalise and prevent torture, ensuring that perpetrators face stringent penalties.

  3. Provide comprehensive medical, psychological, and rehabilitative support to all victims of torture.

  4. Protect human rights defenders and journalists who expose instances of torture or advocate for its eradication.


Veritas reiterates its unwavering commitment to defending human rights, ensuring accountability, and standing in solidarity with all victims of torture.

We stand ready to support the government, civil society, and international organisations in their efforts to eradicate the abhorrent practice of torture.

Together, we can create a Zimbabwe where the rule of law, justice, and compassion prevail.