By Professor Matodzi
Harare, October 21, 2013 – Influential human rights organisations have frowned upon the country’s poor rights record at a time when Africa is commemorating the Africa Human Rights Day.
Africa Human Rights Day is set aside by the African Union annually to reflect upon the entry into force in 1986 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and serves to reflect on the sincerity of the commitment by African leaders to respect, promote and protect human rights on the continent and progress in this regard.
But local human rights organisations on Monday criticized President Robert Mugabe’s administration for trampling on citizens’ rights through maintaining draconian legislation on the country’s statues and launching a sustained assault against human rights defenders.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said it is regrettable that the majority of Zimbabweans do not have anything considerable to celebrate as the fundamentals of democracy in the country continue to be undermined.
“Citizens continue to be subjected to flagrant violations of their fundamental rights by State and non-State actors. Arbitrary arrests, detention, prosecution and persecution of human rights defenders and ordinary citizens, including harmless mothers and children, continue even under a successor government to the coalition administration. National healing processes have failed to materialise or to contribute meaningfully to rebuilding the shattered lives of those who have suffered grave violations in Zimbabwe throughout history. Impunity remains a blight on the nation through failure to prosecute known perpetrators of grave human rights violations,” ZLHR said in a ststement issued Monday to commemorate Africa Human Rights day.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum also hit out at the government for failing to capacitate the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission inorder for the organisation to be fully operational and effective in the protection of human rights.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) criticized President Robert Mugabe’s administration for its strong arm tactics following the assault of some spouses of Hwange Colliery Company workers who recently protested against non-payment of their husbands’ salaries.
“Realising the critical role played by workers in the mining sector in the country’s economic development ZimRights calls on government to ensure protection of their rights and that they have access to better standards of living,” reads part of the ZimRights statement.