The Zimbabwean state has repeatedly used widespread targeted torture to retain political power with sinister repercussions on community participation in civic and political process. The development of a national rehabilitation service holistically addressing the internationally defined components of rehabilitation continues to influence individual, community and national outcomes. The geopolitical contest of the role of human rights in development and democracy, with specific reference to the Convention against Torture particularly on the continent of Africa is well reflected within the Zimbabwe struggle for a multi-party democracy. Will real-politik trump human rights? Will evidence trump real-politik?
The paper traces the development of an innovative national holistic rehabilitation program for torture victims in a hostile and repressive environment. The development of effective interventions medically, psychologically and legally, and the development of tools to evaluate outcome and impact in an unstable environment are explored, with particular reference to individual, community and national outcomes. The paper highlights the impact of forensic medical documentation for legal evidence for individuals, communities and nationally, with particular reference to invoking regional and international treaty bodies to limit the state's abuse of power.
The paper examines the impact of intermittent interventions with respect to the protection of human rights and the repercussions on community stability and participation in democratic processes, through the on-going community monitoring programs. The critical role of redress and reparation in healing for victims of torture is illustrated with the comparative evaluation of the victims accessing justice and those denied, and includes community impact with illustrative community case studies. The paper concludes with a brief discussion on the tension of international human rights law, and particularly the Convention against Torture and the challenge of indicators for the international community with particular reference to quantitative and qualitative analysis.
The results of the multidisciplinary project illustrate the impact of systematic holistic rehabilitation services to victims of torture and the influence on the regional and international political interventions, as well as the risk of impunity both at community level and nationally.
Funding & No Conflicts Declaration
15 year project funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy, Sida, USAID, CIDA, AUSAID, British Embassy, and Netherlands Embassy. There is no conflict of interest.