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Human Rights Commission crippled by under-funding

BULAWAYO senator Kucaca Phulu has bemoaned the underfunding of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) which has hampered the Chapter 12 institution from carrying out its mandate.



BULAWAYO senator Kucaca Phulu has bemoaned the underfunding of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) which has hampered the Chapter 12 institution from carrying out its mandate.

Phulu raised the concern during the question-and-answer session in the Senate where he pleaded with the government to support the ZHRC.

“Certainly, I also want to end by making a submission that this human rights commission is a commission which needs our support. Ever since its formation, if memory serves me right, it is one of the commissions which has received the least support in terms of resources to do their work,” said Phulu.

Between 2019 and 2023, the ZHRC reported cases of human rights violation in the form of arbitrary arrest and detention, restrictions and freedom of expression and assembly and alleged torture.

Through its website, hotline and mobile legal clinics, the ZHRC conducted public outreach and accepted complaints of violations from the public for investigation. Phulu said these reports need to be documented and tracked so as to formulate policies that would aid the commission’s operations.

“Obviously, over the next few years, as we track these reports, because they will become useful when we are able to compare and produce graphs to determine whether these cases are actually going down or they are going up, I am sure that in two or three years’ time, as we receive these reports on an annual basis, we will be able to tell whether this government is putting in place programmes that are ensuring that there is a reduction in the violation of human rights,” Phulu said.

Just over a month before the 2023 election, the government enacted the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Act, 2022 which then failed to meet the requirements of legality, proportionality and necessity in relation to the imposition by the authorities of penalties such as the loss of citizenship and the death penalty against people simply for peacefully exercising their rights.

This worsened the risk of arbitrary detention against those who expressed dissenting views, and it contained overly broad provisions that criminalised participation in meetings.

“The report also highlights the problem of arbitrary arrests and deSenator Kucaca Phulu the watershed elections of 23-24 August 2023 and was released without charge the following day.

In 2022, several violations of human rights were recorded ranging from threats, torture, killings and detentions. These practices are a violation to the right to liberty and security of the person. They are threats to the rule of law in our country.  The report states that between 2010 and 2013, there were 456 cases of arbitrary arrests and detentions reported to the Human Rights Commission.  This is a significant number and highlights the need for urgent action to address this issue,” Phulu said.

Sunningdale MP Maureen Kademaunga was arrested for allegedly participating in electoral violence during the campaign period ahead of the harmonised elections of 23 August 2023.

A CCC supporter, Mboneni Ncube, was speared to death at the party’s rally in Kwekwe.

According to The Global Economy data from 2007-2022, Zimbabwe, among other countries, was reported to have less protection of human rights and the rule of law.

Zimbabwe was ranked 29 out of 200 countries with 8.1 index points out of an average of 6.5.

The United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour for 2023 showed a significant increase in human rights abuses in Zimbabwe with most cases aligned to the period prior to the elections.

The report states that the government also harassed non-governmental-organisations and specific persons it believed would expose abuses by government personnel or oppose official policies. — STAFF WRITER.

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