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Campaigners for Human Rights

Zimbabwe backslides on human rights: EU

17 June 2020

An EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2019: Zimbabwe
The European Union has adopted the 2019 Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World.

Respect for all human rights is a pillar of free, stable, prosperous societies and the EU is proud to be at the forefront of the universal promotion and protection of all the fundamental rights.

The European Union has adopted the 2019 Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World.

Respect for all human rights is a pillar of free, stable, prosperous societies and the EU is proud to be at the forefront of the universal promotion and protection of all the fundamental rights.

Zimbabwe: UN experts demand an immediate end to abductions and torture

10 June 2020
GENEVA (10 June 2020) – UN human rights experts* today called on Zimbabwe to immediately end a reported pattern of disappearances and torture that appear aimed at suppressing protests and dissent.

The urgent call comes after three female opposition activists – member of parliament Joanna Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova – were stopped at a police checkpoint in Harare and subsequently abducted, tortured and sexually assaulted. The three women were going to participate in a peaceful protest organised on 13 May 2020 by the Alliance Youth Assembly of the main opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change.

After almost 48 hours, the three women were dumped in a marketplace. They were immediately hospitalised to be treated for the injuries they sustained while they were abducted. A few days later, they were charged with violating COVID-19 regulations on public gatherings and for purportedly intending to promote public violence and breach of peace.

WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19

05 June 2020
Good morning, good afternoon and good evening.

First of all, I’d like to thank all donors who stepped up yesterday to fully fund GAVI for its next five-year cycle.

This is a vital investment in saving millions of lives from vaccine-preventable diseases.

WHO looks forward to working with GAVI to realise the power of vaccines for everyone, everywhere.

Today WHO is publishing updated guidance on the use of masks for control of COVID-19.

This guidance is based on evolving evidence, and provides updated advice on who should wear a mask, when it should be worn and what it should be made of.

ZimRights takes the fight against COVID-19 to Goromonzi

28 May 2020
On 28 May 2020, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) Mashonaland East province partnered with the Mandela Washington Fellows and ZimRights handed over a donation of hand sanitizers to Chinyika Clinic, in ward 16 of Goromonzi District.

ZimRights was represented by the Mashonaland Provincial Chairperson Mr Nyadome and the Local Chapter Chairperson Mrs Mutizwa who handed over the consignment which consisted of 32 x 100 ml sanitizers. The Sister In charge , Mrs Maremera, and ward 16 Councillor Majuru received the donation on behalf of the health institution. The event coincided with a programme by Tariro Yedu Education Foundation which was distributing food hampers to its 46 children who are its beneficiaries, at a ceremony that was attended by the community members, local council officials, government departments including the Ministry of Social Welfare, and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation (ZBC) which was covering the event.

Africa: We must act now to avoid a catastrophe, say rights chiefs

21 May 2020
GENEVA (20 May 2020) – Human rights chiefs from the United Nations and the African Commission today warned that tens of millions may become destitute in Africa as a result of COVID-19 and its economic impact with catastrophic human rights consequences.

Michelle Bachelet, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Solomon Dersso, Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), called for urgent measures to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

As of 19 May, the disease had reached all 54 African States, infecting nearly 88,172 people. South Africa had the highest number of cases, with nearly 16,433 affected. The death toll on the continent stood at 2,834.

“We cannot afford to stand idly by and hope this most viral and deadly of diseases bypasses Africa, which is home to many of the world’s poorest countries who are simply not in position to handle such a pandemic,” Bachelet and Dersso said.

COVID 19 and Human Rights:
UN Calls for Protection of the Rights of Elderly Persons

14 May 2020
Human rights are about the protection and support for each other. They are rooted in compassion. Each one of us has a family member who can be classified as an elderly person. This is why we all must embrace the call that was made last week by the UN Secretary General António Guterres in a Policy Brief on the Impact of COVID 19 on Older Persons. In this Policy Brief, he urges states, businesses, international organizations, companies, communities, friends and families to step up effort to support older persons. “We must do everything possible to preserve their rights and dignity at all times.” He said. The policy brief elaborates four priorities for action to ensure the protection of elderly persons. These include ensuring that decisions on health-care are guided by commitment to dignity and the right to health, strengthening social inclusion and solidarity, integrating a focus on older persons into socio-economic and humanitarian response, and expanding participation by older persons in shaping policy. The brief has been welcomed by 140 countries including Zimbabwe making it a standard upon which we can hold our country to account. ZimRights has since the outbreak of the pandemic insisted on putting human rights at the centre of COVID 19 response. Download the policy brief here. Download the statement of support here.

ZimRights takes the fight against COVID-19 to Chirumhanzu District

10 May 2020
As part of its ongoing fight against COVID-19, ZimRights donated Personal Protective Equipment to Midlands Province's Chirumanzi district on the 6th of May 2020.

The district has just seen the establishment of a new quarantine centre at Mvuma Government Primary School which will complement Mvuma District General Hospital, Hama and Lalapanzi clinics.

ZimRights, represented by the local chapter chairperson Mrs Jabangwe and Management Committee member,Mrs Kalenge, handed over the consignment which included 360 x 25g soap tablets and 340 x 100ml sanitizers, to the District Development Coordinator Mr V Hlavati.

The donation is expected to be used by the Chirumhanzu COVID-19 Task Force, operating in and around the quarantine centres local health institutions.

ZimRights has since taken a proactive step in the fight against the spread of the novel Corona Virus and has set up a COVID-19 response team. So far 3 provinces have received donations and more are coming. We believe the fight against COVID-19 is everyone’s fight and we are in it to safeguard one of the fundamental rights, the right to life.

ZimRights takes the fight against COVID-19 to Mashonaland West and Midlands Provinces

03 May 2020
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) , this week took its humanitarian response to Covid 19 to Gokwe South, Redcliff and Karoi.

As part of the response, ZimRights handed over sanitizers and hygiene soaps.

In Gokwe South the organisation handed over 400 bottles of hand sanitisers and 400 units of soaps while in Redcliff 360 bottles of sanitisers and 340 units of soaps were distributed.

In Karoi, ZimRights distributed 1080 sanitisers and 1020 soaps.

In Midlands, the ZimRights team handed over the donations to the Deputy District Coordinator for Gokwe South, while in Redcliff the Municipality's Public Relations and Projects department received the donations.

The donations are expected to benefit the respective communities in the constituencies.

In Mashonaland West ZimRights was represented by its national chairperson, Takesure Musiiwa and the organisation’s Mashonaland West provincial chairperson, Reverend Chamonyonga, who handed over the donations to Karoi District Development for use at the quarantine centre set up at Vhuti, and at Karuru and Chundu Clinics.

Speaking about the occasion, Musiiwa said the organisation is in the process of identifying more areas in need of such responses.
“During good times, we work together as communities, and during difficult times like these, we should also stand together in complementing government efforts,” said Musiiwa.

“We believe the fight against COVID-19 is everyone’s fight and we are in it to safeguard one of the fundamental rights, the right to life.”

With a membership of over 250 000 countrywide, ZimRights is the biggest grassroots-based human rights organisation in Zimbabwe, and has so far led the response to Covid-19 by maintaining a community based monitoring approach, and through advocacy to shape government’s response to the disease, as well as through humanitarian responses.

ZimRights acknowledges the contribution from the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, which, through Dr Norman Matara, facilitated the organisation's activities in Mashonaland West

There are 3 pillars to the ZimRights COVID 19 Response: Human Rights Monitoring, Policy Advocacy and Humanitarian Response.

ZimRights Launches the Guide to Understanding Devolution

Today we release one of our publications titled ‘Guide to Understanding Devolution.’ The guide unpacks devolution principles as well as the ZimRights perspectives on devolution.

The Guide is designed to capacitated members of the public on key issues on devolution and how they can meaningfully engage and participate in the developing discussion on this important subject matter. This is in the backdrop of gathering interest and momentum on the operationalization of the provisions in the Constitution on devolution through and the controversial provisions relating to devolution.

In this Guide, we tackle the following critical issues.

Why we need devolution. Devolution should bring democratic shift by bringing decision making and public governance close to the people of Zimbabwe. It should result in more effective and tailored policymaking and encourage innovation in policy-making.

The Models of Devolution
The guide makes a comparative study of different models of devolution practiced in different countries and what lessons can be drawn from them as we tackle the same matter in Zimbabwe.

What a Devolved Government will look like
The provisions on devolution in the constitution are broken down to demonstrate how they envisage the devolved structures to be like and who gets in it. A high level overview is given of the proposed amendments to the devolution provisions in the Constitution and how they will alter the existing position as it is provided in the Constitution.

Developments on the Ground
The guide then explores what has been done and what is going on since 2013 under devolution and how we may measure if devolution is really working.

ZimRights’ Key Asks
Finally, the guide concludes on our recommendations and the steps we propose to take in the developing narrative and implementation of devolution provisions.

Please follow the link here to download the guide.

UN Secretary General Says Human Rights Are Key in Shaping the Pandemic Response

On the Global stage, last week, the United Nations Secretary General release an important document, a policy brief titled: We are all in this together. In this brief, the Secretary General states that human rights are key in shaping the pandemic response, both for the public health emergency and the broader impact on people’s lives and livelihoods.

He writes, “Human rights put people on the centre-stage. Responses that are shaped by and respect human rights result in better outcomes in beating the pandemic, ensuring healthcare for everyone and preserving human dignity. But they also focus our attention on who is suffering most, why, and what can be done about it. They prepare the ground now for emerging from this crisis with more equitable and sustainable societies, development and peace.”

The Secretary General’s message comes just after UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association, Clement Voule, issued a statement on April 10 asking national governments to make sure that their emergency COVID-19 regulations do not undermine international human rights standards.

These views are in harmony with the stance taken by ZimRights since the outbreak of COVID 19. In TweetView hosted by TheFeedZW on Firday last week, we stated that on COVID 19 and Human Rights, there is no ‘Versus’. This is the same fight. Human rights are at the centre of the fight against COVID-19. On our blog last week, ZimRights National Director stated that human rights are not an attachment to the fight against COVID 19. They are at the centre of the fight, a fight that humanity must win. But it must be won with great compassion, having left no one behind, and provided protection for the vulnerable.

Read the Full Policy Brief by the Secretary General here