Heal Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating International Day of Peace. The commemorations this year are running under the theme, “The Right to Peace-The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70”. The theme for this year celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides among many rights, the right to freedom from torture and access to justice. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an elaborate document that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on the 10th December 1948 in Paris.
In his message on this an historic day, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, underscored the need for all nations to uphold the provisions enunciated in the UDHR.”“It is time all nations and all people live up to the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human race. This year marks the 70th anniversary of that landmark document.” he said.
Article 5 of the African (Banjul) Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights highlights that, “Every individual shall have the right to the respect of the dignity inherent in a human being and to the recognition of his legal status. All forms of exploitation and degradation of man particularly slavery, slave trade, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment shall be prohibited”. Such a provision compels member states like Zimbabwe to cultivate a culture of upholding the fundamental human rights and freedoms such as freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Chapter 232 of the constitution of Zimbabwe establishes Independent Commissions particularly the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) whose mandate as enunciated in Section 252 (b) is to “develop and implement programmes to promote national healing, unity and cohesion in Zimbabwe and the peaceful resolution of disputes”.
Heal Zimbabwe commends the NPRC for embarking on national consultative meetings that sought to engage stakeholders on issues of national healing and reconciliation in the past, in fact, the critical need for a comprehensive healing and reconciliation process remains urgent.The snail’s pace with which the NPRC is carrying out its constitutional mandate such as ensuring post -conflict justice, healing and reconciliation is not only worrying but frustrating given that the nation is in dire need of healing and reconciliation. It is Heal Zimbabwe’s view that by now, NPRC would have commenced in earnest tackling key reconciliation issues such as Gukurahundi and the 2008 violence among others.
On the occasion of the International Day of Peace, Heal Zimbabwe implores the NPRC to urgently address reconciliation issues that were raised by stakeholders during consultative meetings earlier this year. Added to this, the NPRC must swiftly move in to tackle contentious reconciliation issues such as Gukurahundi in compliance with Section 252 (c) of the constitution that stipulates that the NPRC must “bring about national reconciliation by encouraging people to tell the truth about the past and facilitating the making of amends and the provision of justice”