Heal Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating Human Rights Day, a day that is observed every year on the 10th of December. The day is historic in that it is the day that the United Nations General Assembly, adopted in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being regardless of race, creed, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
This year’s Human Rights Day celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Day. In his statement on the occasion of Human Rights Day, United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, underscored the need for people around the world to stand for human rights.”Now more than ever, our shared duty is clear: Let us stand for human rights for everyone, everywhere”, he said.
For Zimbabwe, however, Human Rights day comes at a time when the country is eagerly waiting for the report of the Commission of Inquiry into the 1 August 2018 shootings that left seven people dead and several injured. The 1 August 2018 demonstration was on the delays in the announcement of election results. Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights states that “Human Beings are inviolable. Every human being shall be entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of his person. No one may be arbitrarily deprived of this right”. The right to life is inalienable and is a fundamental human right that must be enjoyed and celebrated by everyone. Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”. Such regional and international human rights instruments compel nations to further upholding of human rights by enforcing and respecting laws that help in the realization and enjoyment of fundamental human rights.
For Zimbabwe, Human Rights Day must serve as a reminder to the government on the need to demonstrate political will and create a conducive environment where citizens enjoy fundamental human rights such as right to life that is explicitly provided for in Section 48 of the constitution. To demonstrate political will, the government must publicize reports by previous commissions such as the Dumbutshena and Chihambakwe commissions that investigated the early 1980s Gukurahundi atrocities. In addition to this, the government must also publicize and act decisively on the report that will be released by the Commission set up after the 1 August 2018 army shootings. Government must also set up an independent complaints mechanism in compliance with section 210 of the constitution to allow members of the public to report misconduct on the part of members of the security services.