Thematic Working Groups

TWGs

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Act [Chapter 10:30], provides that the ZHRC should establish Thematic Working Groups in order to have specialized attention to promotion and protection of various categories of rights.  The Commission may from time to time review the number of Thematic Working Groups, their respective terms of reference and constitution thereof. Currently the Commission has eight Thematic Working Groups namely:

  1. Capacity Building and Institutional Development;
  2. Children’s Rights;
  3. Civil and Political Rights;
  4. Environmental Rights;
  5. Gender Equality and Women’s Rights;
  6. International Treaties and Agreements;
  7. Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and
  8. Special Interest Groups with focus on persons with disability (including albinism), older persons, the youth and indigenous minorities.

Capacity Building and Institutional Development

The Thematic Working Group (TWG) on Capacity Building and Institutional Development is not specifically mentioned in the ZHRC Act. However, the Act empowers the Commission to establish any other thematic area which the Commission may consider necessary.

The Capacity Building TWG focuses on understanding the obstacles that hinder communities and institutions from realizing their human dignity and freedoms. The TWG also enhances citizen’s abilities that will allow them to achieve measurable and sustainable results. The working group seeks to strengthen skills, competencies and abilities of people and communities in issues of human rights promotion and protection. The working group will spearhead capacity building of different stakeholders in the quest to have increased knowledge on human rights and what they are and how to assert these rights. This will improve human rights knowledge and application in institutions and other organizations and society in general.

The Commission established this TWG with the main objective of improving the human rights knowledge and its application in institutions and society in general.

 Members of the TWG

  • Legal Resources Foundation
  • ZUBO Trust
  • Basilizwi Trust
  • Solusi University
  • Council for Legal Education
  • Habakkuk Trust
  • Women Institute for Leadership Development Trust

Children’s Rights

The focus of the TWG is to monitor the progress in the protection of the rights of children in Zimbabwe with all stakeholders involved, so as to be able to assist one another in any areas that may need assistance, and to be able to stay up-to-date with the current state of children’s rights situation in Zimbabwe.

Members of the TWG:

  • UNICEF
  • Save the Children Zimbabwe
  • Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
  • Plan International
  • Shemar Yemwanasikana
  • Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children (ZNCWC)
  • Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare (MPSLSW)
  • Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • Legal Resources Foundation (LRF)
  • Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC)
  • Justice for Children
  • Office of the Registrar General
  • Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations
  • Childline
  • Department of Social Work, University of Zimbabwe
  • Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe
  • Fund a Child’s Education Zimbabwe (FACEZ)
  • National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped (NASCOH)
  • Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP)
  • Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC)
  • SOS Children’s Village

Civil and Political Rights

The TWG on Civil and Political Rights is premised on the idea that Civil and Political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals freedom from infringement by governments, social organizations, and private individuals. They ensure one’s ability to participate in the civil and political life of the society and without discrimination or repression. Civil rights include the ensuring of peoples’ physical and mental integrity, life, and safety; protection from discrimination on grounds such as race, gender, nationality ethnic or social origin, colour, age, political affiliation, religious belief, opinion, custom, language,  place of birth, class, culture, sex, gender, marital status, pregnancy, disability or economic or social status, or whether they were born in or out of wedlock; and individual rights such as privacy and the freedoms of conscience, speech, religion, press, assembly, and movement.

Political rights include natural justice (procedural fairness) in law, such as the rights of the accused, including the right to a fair trial; due process; the right to seek redress or a legal remedy; and rights of participation in civil society and such as freedom of association, the right to assemble, the right to petition, the right of self-defence, and the right to vote.

Members of the TWG

  • Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)
  • Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP)
  • Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
  • Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
  • Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denomination
  • Africa University
  • Election Resource Centre (ERC)
  • Zimbabwe Union for Journalists

Gender Equality and Women’s Rights

One function of the TWG on Gender Equality and Women’s Rights, among other functions is to play an advisory role as well as monitoring and making appropriate responses to gender equality and women’s rights-related problems in the country in line with the ZHRC mandate to protect, promote and enforce human rights.

The TWG is guided by a number of gender equality and women’s rights policies which include the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Beijing Platform for Action (BPA), Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Gender and Development Protocol, the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the revised Gender Policy and various other UN Treaties. The TWG can also carry out relevant researches and produce reports.

Members of the TWG:

  • Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Small and Medium Enterprises
  • Zimbabwe Gender Commission
  • Musasa Project
  • Katswe Sisterhood
  • PADARE/ Ekhundleni
  • National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO)
  • Zimbabwe Older Persons Organisation
  • MyAge Zimbabwe Trust
  • Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe
  • Union for the Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe (UDACISA)
  • UNDP, and
  • UN Women and other UN Agencies depending on technical advice required

International Agreements and Treaties

The function of this TWG is crucial in enabling the Commission to ensure the State’s adherence to and implementation of regional and international human rights standards. The TWG collaborates with partners in Government, Civil Society Organisations and other Independent Commissions in advocating for the harmonisation of legislation with human rights instruments to which the state is party to.

The TWG also encourages the ratification and domestication of regional and international human rights instruments. Another role of the TWG is to draw the attention of the Commission to situations in any part of the country where human rights are violated for further investigation by the Complaints Handling and Investigation Department.

Members of the TWG:

  • Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
  • Law Society of Zimbabwe
  • Harare Residents Trust
  • Great Zimbabwe University
  • Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
  • Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

The ESCR TWG was created to take responsibility for economic, social and cultural rights issues. ESCR relate to the workplace, social security, family life, participation in cultural life, and access to housing, food water, health care and education. The TWG works with the support of various partners including Government.

The purpose of the ESCR TWG is to effectively and proactively respond to violations of economic, social and cultural rights and influence policy and decision making at national and sub – national levels.

Members of the TWG:

  • Community Working Group on Health
  • ZimRights
  • Lupane State University
  • Amagugu Inter-Cultural Centre
  • Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe (LEDRIZ)
  • Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions

Special Interests

The focus of the Special Interest TWG is to promote and protect human rights of special interest groups such as the disabled, elderly, youths and indigenous minorities. This is done through the review of legislature that governs these interest groups and research in general. The TWG also encourages the State to equitably distribute resources to these interest groups as provided for in the Constitution.

A key feature of the TWG is that it meets every quarter to deliberate various emerging issues for the interest groups, review progress on pragmatic issues and also plan commemorative events. It brings together partner organisations from Government and Civil Society to work with the Commission in deliberating on human rights issues that impact these social groups.

Members of the TWG:

  • Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare
  • Help Age Zimbabwe
  • Federation of Persons with Disability in Zimbabwe
  • Zimbabwe Albino Association
  • National Association Youth Organisations
  • Deaf Zimbabwe Trust
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