The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) today the 10th of December 2017 joins the Government of Zimbabwe, the United Nations (UN) and other Development Partners, Civil Society, Citizens of Zimbabwe and all Stakeholders in Zimbabwe and the rest of the world in commemorating the International Human Rights Day.
International Human Rights Day is commemorated globally each year on the 10th of December since 1948, when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which is the first comprehensive document providing for human rights and freedoms that all human beings are entitled to. The UDHR has thirty (30) articles which include economic, social and cultural rights such as the right to an adequate standard of living, right to food, housing, medical care, adequate social services and the right to education as well as civil and political rights such as the rights to: human dignity; equality and non-discrimination; life; liberty and security; freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, political choice, and many others which Zimbabwe has domesticated in Chapter four (4) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe (Declaration of Rights).
The 2017 International Human Rights Day commemorations are significant as they mark the beginning of year-long celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year’s theme for the International Human Rights Day is “#StandUp4HumanRights.” The theme focuses on the need to stand up for our own rights and those of others while valuing the principles of equality, justice and freedom.
For Zimbabwe, this year’s commemorations for IHRD commemorations are unique, as they are happening at a critical juncture in the history of the country when Zimbabwe has entered a dispensation that has ushered in a new political leadership in the Republic of Zimbabwe led by His Excellency President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa. The ZHRC calls upon the new leadership to StandUp4HumanRights in earnest and urgently implement significant political reforms to restore and consolidate democracy in Zimbabwe characterised by all fundamental human rights and freedoms that include freedom of assembly and association, freedom to demonstrate and petition, freedom of expression and media and freedom from arbitrary arrest. The ZHRC is heartened by His Excellence’s commitment to the implementation of economic reforms towards the revival of the economy and dismantling of the previous political order that tolerated unaccountability, corruption, inefficiency and non- commitment to the rule of law.
As we move towards the 2018 harmonised elections, ZHRC calls upon the Government to expedite completion of the alignment of all pieces of legislation to the Constitution that include the Electoral Act and the repeal or reform of AIPPA and POSA and their fair nonpartisan enforcement. ZHRC also advocates for full implementation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which has an expanded Bill of Rights incorporating the rights of vulnerable groups such as women, children, the elderly and persons with disabilities.
The ZHRC also calls upon the government to create an enabling environment in communities for accelerated human rights awareness outreaches as well as sensitisation and engagements with duty bearers and other stakeholders on the need to respect, uphold, protect, promote and enforce fundamental human rights and freedoms enshrined in our Constitution as well as international and regional human rights treaties ratified and acceded to by Zimbabwe.
Other major issues of concern which the Commission has raised in the past, and which it believes require the immediate attention of the new government relate to arbitrary evictions, especially from agricultural land, the need to facilitate the diaspora vote, addressing the Gukurahundi disturbances and addressing the cash shortages as part of the economic reforms that the government will be embarking on.
Northern Region Office and Head Office
144 Samora Machel Avenue, Harare, Tel: +263 4 2934102/3 or 251077/079/085 or 705268/426 or 703596/616 or 701811, Cell 0771838654, 0771838656 or 0771838656,
Southern Region Office
49 JMN Nkomo Street, between 3rd and 4th Avenue, Bulawayo, Tel: +263 9 64170-73,