Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers are being retrained to ensure safety of the people and to respect their rights, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has said.
He said the police’s curricula was also being looked into in line with the Government’s thrust to conform to the protection and promotion of human rights.
The minister was speaking during a symposium on human rights in Harare yesterday.
“I agree with you that the security sector reform is crucial in guaranteeing the safety of citizens and their enjoyment of human rights. It is a process in motion, but will take time to manifest,” he said.
He said human rights obligations of governments must follow the classical tripartite typology of States’ human rights obligations, namely — the duty to respect, the duty to protect and the duty to fulfil.
“The duty to respect means that Government and or its agencies must not violate human rights through their own actions. This requires Government to refrain from interfering with the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms of all citizens.
“As regards the duty to protect, Government’s role is to ensure that third parties do not violate the rights and freedoms of the individual,” Minister Ziyambi said.
He said the duty to fulfil means that Government must take positive action to facilitate the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms.
He said Government had established the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and Zimbabwe Gender Commission in terms of the Constitution in compliance with this duty.
Minister Ziyambi said Government cannot succeed without everyone coming on board.
“Fellow countrymen, the principle of shared responsibility of different tiers of government for the protection and promotion of human rights has been on several occasions underlined by the United Nations human rights treaty bodies,” he said.
He said Government has faced many challenges in trying to fulfil its human rights mandate with the major one being inadequate funding for the human rights institutions.
“Human rights institutions’ capacity to implement and promote human rights has in most instances been hindered by lack of adequate resources due to the difficult economic situation obtaining in the country.
“The other challenge is lack of adequate coordination between Government and other stakeholders especially in the civil society. A clear-cut division of powers between the different tiers of Government and even civil society is the precondition for the establishment of accountability, and hence the precondition for the implementation of human rights.
“It must become self-understood that every authority provided with public power has to respect, protect and fulfil human rights,” Minister Ziyambi said.