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Today, the 10th of December, is International Human Rights Day. This is a day set aside to commemorate the date on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaiming its principles as the “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.”

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) joins the rest of the world in commemorating this important day which showcases collective responsibility to promote and protect the rights and dignity of all people every day.

The theme for this year’s commemorations is ‘Human Rights 365’. The theme implies that human rights should be observed, celebrated and talked about every day, 365 days a year and not just on International Human Rights Days. Observance of human rights is not an event but a daily process.

As the ZHRC, we emphasise that human rights should be promoted, protected and enforced every day of the year by each and every one of us. Every human being is entitled to human rights and every day should be celebrated as Human Rights Day.

Today’s commemorations are taking place at the Amphi Theatre in Bulawayo. The commemorations will start with a march from TM Hyper to the Amphi Theatre. The ZHRC salutes all stakeholders that will be participating in the march and will take part in the exhibitions that will showcase all aspects of human rights for human dignity.

Today as we celebrate our common values for human dignity, let us also remember that International Human Rights Day falls on the last day of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence. The 16 days started on the 25 of November and will end today, the 10th of December, which is International Human Rights Day. The ZHRC places great importance on each of these significant dates and indeed on their perpetual daily significance.

The 25th of November marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Women’s rights are human rights that need to be promoted and protected. Violence against women is a major human rights violation which warrants great attention and efforts to STOP IT.

December 1, was World Aids Day. This was an important day which reminded us that every human being has a right to health care. It also reminded us that HIV positive people have a right to medical attention and should not be discriminated against. The day was commemorated under the theme “Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.”

As a country, we should indeed aim at zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths.  This calls for constant and consistent awareness raising of HIV and AIDS and to demonstrate national solidarity in the face of the pandemic. The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission urges all stakeholders to constantly disseminate as much information as possible on the status of the pandemic and encourage progress in HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment and care, especially among the youths and expecting mothers.

December 3 was International Day for People with Disabilities. Persons with disabilities have equal rights with every other person. This year’s theme is “Sustainable Development: The promise of technology”. This means  focusing on the role of technology in ensuring disaster risk reduction and emergency responses, creating enabling working environments and disability-inclusive sustainable development goals.

This demands of the State and other stakeholders to create an enabling environment that ensures that persons with disabilities can realise their full mental and physical potential in society.

As we celebrate the International Human Rights Day today, the 10th of December, we also celebrate the promotion, protection and enforcement of Human Rights in Zimbabwe everyday of the year. As a National Human Rights Institution we wish to remind the State, institutions and agencies of government at every level and every citizen and persons resident in Zimbabwe  that  it is our  collective duty to respect, protect, promote and fulfil human rights and freedoms.

Let us continue respecting, promoting and protecting Human Rights for human dignity on a daily basis.

ZHRC Press Statement on the International Human Rights Day – 10 December 2014