ZHRC gets decentralisation boost Mr Elasto Mugwadi

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter

The decentralisation programme of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) had a major boost yesterday after the European Union handed over a motor vehicle and 10 laptops, so the independent body can start work to set up offices in all provinces.

The donation will also strengthen ZHRC’s institutional capacity for it to effectively discharge its constitutional mandate, particularly to ensure a presence in all provinces in line with the Second Republic’s thrust of leaving no place and no one behind.

ZHRC received an off road Isuzu double cab truck, 10 laptops and three jerrycans, funded by the EU with assistance from the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law as fund manager.

At a brief ceremony held at ZHRC offices in Harare yesterday, ZHRC was represented by chairperson Mr Elasto Mugwadi, while the EU had Mr Ville Aro, with Mr Mikarl Johansson representing RWI.

Accepting the donation, Mr Mugwadi said the commission’s decentralisation programme had been enhanced.

“There is the issue of decentralisation. As ZHRC, we have to be in every province. In addition to the vehicle, we have 10 laptops and these are important in that they will capacitate our officers in the provinces,” said Mr Mugwadi.

He commended the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion for the payment of duty and value added tax for the vehicle.

“The donation of the motor vehicle and 10 laptops will go a long way to strengthen the institutional capacity of the commission so that it effectively delivers on its constitutional mandate to promote and protect human rights and administrative justice in Zimbabwe,” said Mr Mugwadi.

Mr Mugwadi said the ZHRC was mandated by Section 242 of the Constitution to promote, protect and enforce human rights.

This was achieved through programmes that include complaints handling and investigations, administrative justice, education, research and advocacy as well as monitoring and inspections.

The work was broad in nature, in compliance with the principles relating to the status of national human rights institutions, known as the Paris Principle, which provided that the mandate be as broad as possible.

“Financial impediments have to some extent been constraining the operations of the ZHRC, yet the Paris Principles state that for the national human rights institute to be effective, it should have adequate resources of which 70 percent should be from the Government since the institutes are state institutes,” he said.  Mr Aro said the EU had a long standing relationship with ZHRC for the past several years.

“Collaborative effort financed by the EU delegation and implemented by the Raoul Wallenberg Institute embodies our shared commitment in enhancing fundamental principles of justice and human rights,” he said.

“The EU has been steadfast in supporting the work of the ZHRC dating back to 2011 even before the commission was formally established as an independent constitutional body for the protection and promotion of human rights in Zimbabwe.”

The ongoing EU support being implemented, said Mr Aro, focuses on strategic priorities that include increased access to national documentation among communities experiencing challenges, through the implementation by relevant stakeholders of ZHRC national inquiry recommendations.

Continued support to the ZHRC by the EU was a testament of the important role being played by the ZHRC in the protection and promotion of human rights.

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