Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) joins the rest of world in commemorating the 2016 Human Rights Day. ZPP has since 2001 been monitoring all forms of violations and human rights abuses and collecting data on conditions, practices and policies that affect human rights, freedoms, dignity and livelihoods of people. ZPP activities are centred on seeing to the promotion of human rights. This has proven to be a mammoth task in Zimbabwe’s current economic and political environment. Due to this, the need to commemorate Human Rights Day is heightened.
Human Rights Day is observed annually on 10 December. It commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1950, the Assembly passed resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organisations to observe 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day.
This year, Human Rights Day calls on everyone to stand up for someone’s rights. Through the Monthly Monitoring Report, ZPP has raised concerns over continued disregard of human rights by the government and players like the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe National Army. In 2016 alone, ZRP has been responsible for an average of 20.8% of human rights violations, while ZNA has been responsible for 4.61% and Central Intelligence Organisation has been responsible for 0.38% of human rights violations. Political parties, similarly, need to be encouraged to stand up for people’s rights as opposed to thwarting them. Political parties have also been found wanting as 60.85% of violations are pinned on Zanu PF, 4.03% on MDC-T and 0.38% on Zimbabwe People First.
Most human rights violations documented by ZPP are caused by intolerance of another’s political affiliation or views. As a result freedom of speech, association and assembly, rights to food and political choice are the commonly breached rights through cases of harassment, abductions, partisan food distribution, violent disruption of protests, corruption among others.
ZPP asserts that standing up for each other’s rights should be inculcated in various platforms and the constitution should be rightfully adhered to. State institutions need to be on the same wavelength with citizens, civic society and social movements in calling for the respect of human rights. It should be understood that human rights are inalienable entitlements of all people, at all times and everywhere. We should also bear in mind that these are rights of people of every ethnic group, whether or not they have disabilities, their creed or political affiliation.