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Frances Lovemore, a medical doctor focused on treating victims of organized violence and torture and documenting their injuries in Zimbabwe, has arrived at Colby College to share her experiences with students and the greater community. As the 2005 Oak Human Rights Fellow at the Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights, Lovemore will present “Zimbabwe: The Traumatic Road to Democracy” on Monday, September 19, at 7 p.m. in Room 100 of the Lovejoy Building. The public is encouraged to attend.

According to Lovemore, Zimbabwe has a long history in the use of torture to control the population and to maintain the status quo. For the past five years she researched methods of empowering survivors to seek reparations and worked to develop a database of human rights abuses, which will be used to help establish a truth and justice commission.

“It would appear that there has been a deliberate decision [by the government] to use torture rather than killing or disappearances… as it is as effective a method of terror as killing and has the advantage of being harder to detect. It also creates less alarm in the international community,” said Lovemore.

Lovemore is the medical director of Amani Trust, formed in 1993 to provide community-based care to survivors of organized violence and torture. The organization trains doctors in internationally established guidelines for the medical treatment of torture survivors. These guidelines call for more than just medical treatment—doctors also refer patients to counseling and support and to legal assistance. The trust was founded, in part, with a grant from the Oak Zimbabwe Foundation.

Lovemore is the eighth Oak Human Rights fellow, following other human rights activists who risked their lives on behalf of child laborers in Pakistan, civil society in the Democratic Republic of Congo, indigenous and peasant groups in Colombia, and women and children war victims in Kosovo.

The one-semester fellowship was established by a 1998 grant to Colby College from the Oak Foundation to allow a front-line human rights practitioner to take a sabbatical for research, writing and teaching as a scholar-in-residence at Colby. In addition to the fellowship, the Oak Institute supports human right lectures and other programs on the campus. To learn more about the Oak Institute visit its Web site at http://www.colby.edu/oak.
Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights