The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) recently held an engagement seminar with various stakeholders dealing with human rights issues at the Holiday Inn in Harare to find ways of possible collaboration when referring cases to each other to promote and protect human rights in the country.
Organisations that were represented during the ‘Referral stakeholders engagement seminar’ include the Counselling Services Unit, Centre for Applied Legal Research, Justice for Children Trust, Legal Aid Directorate, Legal Resources Foundation, Women and Law in Southern Africa, Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Zimbabwe Peace Project, ZimRights, Transparency International Zimbabwe and Padare Men’s Forum.
The various organisations that attended the stakeholders’ engagement seminar had an opportunity to share their organisational profiles and human rights work related experiences.
“This day presents us all with an opportunity to take stock of the work that we do in the promotion and observance of human rights in Zimbabwe,” noted Ms Jester Helena Charewa, the Executive Secretary of the ZHRC.“It is also an opportunity for us to come up with valuable ideas that can be harnessed to improve the human rights situation in Zimbabwe particularly in the handling of the complaints we receive.”
Although the ZHRC is mandated to promote, protect and enforce human rights in the country, it cannot tackle all the human rights challenges that are presented to the Commission on its own.
“The Commission acknowledges the fact that it cannot deal with all human rights complaints that it receives on its own but has to work with other stakeholders whom it has to refer clients to,” explained the Chairperson of the ZHRC, Commissioner Elasto Hilarious Mugwadi during the seminar.
“In recognising the fact that we cannot do it alone and succeed, we thought it prudent to meet with our key stakeholders to forge an understanding of how together we can tackle human rights challenges in this country,” added Commissioner Mugwadi.
Various stakeholders who attended the meeting had an opportunity to input into the Memorandum of Standing (MOU) that would guide all the partner organisations in referring and handling human rights complaints.
Commissioner Mugwadi underscored a word of caution that the partnership would succeed and maintain credibility if built on faith and trust. “We should avoid and defeat the temptation of succumbing to emotions and political prejudices. Our efforts should always be guided by facts and the truth,” he said.
Stakeholders agreed that they would continue to find ways of working together to improve the human rights situation in the country.