Govt to defend human rights record

Bulawayo Bureau
Government will submit a report to the United Nations General Assembly Council on the human rights situation in the country by June. Zimbabwe joined the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2011. UPR is a human rights monitoring organ under the United Nations with 193 member states. Addressing the media in Bulawayo last Wednesday, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ms Virginia Mabhiza, said the report would also be subject to peer review.

“We are supposed to submit our national report to the UN General Council by June 30. As for the actual reporting, we’re going to be allocated a date sometime in September where we are supposed to be peer reviewed.

“This is where we are going to get comments from various sectors including other countries as to what we need to do to improve our human rights situation,” said Mabhiza.

She said the country joined UPR in 2011 and 131 human rights issues were recommended to Zimbabwe.

“In 2011, we underwent the first cycle.

“It’s a peer review process whereby friendly countries take chances to comment on what they think we should try and do to improve human rights situation.

“In 2011, we went through the first cycle where we accepted 131 recommendations that they thought we should improve on,” she said.

Ms Mabhiza said Government, although facing various challenges, has made strides in improving human rights in the country.

She cited the adoption of the new Constitution as one of the ways the country had improved human rights as people can now take the Government to the Constitutional Court for rights violations.

The creation of the Human Rights Commission, National Peace and Reconciliation Commission and Gender Commission was testimony that the Government was making strides in improving human rights, she said.

She said the country has done immense work in promoting socio-economic rights such as provision of health care services.

Ms Mabhiza cited the indiscriminate provision of antiretroviral drugs to the country’s citizens and even inmates as one of the successes in the promotion of socio-economic rights.

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