21. March 2014

Urged to implement recommendations on human rights

The government has been asked to urgently remove laws that restrict the work of human rights defenders and repeal offensive sections of POSA that inhibit freedom of assembly.

A report released by civil society organisations (CSO’s) in Harare on Friday was critical at the slow pace of the implementation of a number of recommendations, aimed at curtailing and improving human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

The new constitution now provides for the establishment of a National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) to deal with issues of healing and reconciliation. However legislation to align these laws into the new charter has not been done.

Analysts say there has been little progress in implementing key aspects of the human rights recommendations, notably the need to repeal draconian laws and ensure accountability for past rights abuses.

‘The government must urgently facilitate the appointment of a secretariat for the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and enact laws to operationalize the NPRC and the Gender Council. ‘The government must also guarantee the independence of the Anti Corruption Commission and the Zimbabwe Media Commission as well as ensure that they are adequately resourced,’ the report recommnded.

Abel Chikomo, the executive director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, launched the report which highlighted the need for the government to educate law enforcement agencies on the role and functions of CSO’s in a democratic society.

The mid term report is a feedback on the performance of the government in implementing recommendations between 2011 and 2014. Three years ago, CSO’s, working in partnership with the United Nations Human Rights Council, presented the government with 177 recommendations, of which 130 were accepted and 47 rejected.

However, CSO’s and NGO’s have complained that since the adoption of the new constitution in May last year, the ruling ZANU PF government has only implemented some recommendations on paper, with practical progress yet to be made. (SW Radio Africa)


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