Capacity Building Support to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC)

What is the project about

 Taking part in the International Human Rights Day commemorations march in Harare

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) is established as an independent Commission under the Constitution. Its enabling legislation was finalised on the 12th of October 2012 and outlines the mandate and operational modalities of the ZHRC. The overarching objective of this project is support processes aimed at institutional strengthening of the ZHRC. This includes but is not limited to building institutional and systems capacity of the Commission and its Secretariat; Strengthening the capacity of Commissioners to get a better understanding of their role;  laying of foundations of the ZHRC’s interaction with State, Civil Society and other stakeholders as well as overseeing the planning and management of the organisation.

Project Outputs:

  1. Capacity of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and Secretariat enhanced to effectively manage the process as is required of such a deliberative body  including staffing vacant positions;
  2. Commissioners trained and oriented on key human rights concepts and substantive issues to enhance their understanding and abilities to effectively discharge their responsibilities;
  3. Informative and educative publications on Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission;
  4. Strategic partnership forged with key stakeholders including CSO, Parliament, government ministries and departments, other commissions, among others;
  5. A Strategic Plan Developed.

Key Achievements

  1. The ZHRC has finalized the recruitment of its middle management staff that is, the Finance Manager, Administrator, Human Resources Manager and a Secretary through a Human Resources Consulting. The secretariat is not yet on board because the ZHRC is awaiting release of funding from Treasury to support salaries and operational costs;
  2. The Commission has been holding one regular meeting each month. This platform supports it to strategize on the implementation of the project activities and follow-up on the on-going processes relating to its full operationalization;
  3. The ZHRC has held consultative workshops with Zimbabwe Prison Service (ZPS) on 21 February 2013 and the Commissioner General, the Deputy Commissioners and Senior Assistant Commissioners of the Zimbabwe Republican Police (ZRP) 4th March 2013. These interface meetings were instrumental in ensuring a clear understanding by these authorities of the role and mandate of the Commission, while identifying opportunities to strengthen collaboration to promote and protect human rights in Zimbabwe.

Key Challenges / Constraints

  1. The Commission’s Chairperson was recently appointed to the position of Speaker of Parliament. The Commission Chairperson is the key person for the implementation of the ongoing project with the ZHRC. Consequently, there is need to have a new Chairperson appointed in order to have smooth and continuous implementation.
  2. The full operationalization of the Commission is still pending in spite of the enabling legislation having been finalized in October 2012 because of absence of a secretariat, the non- finalization of the Terms and Conditions of Service of the Commissioners. This impedes the Commission’s work as because of the lack of clarity on the commissioners’ status;
  3. The ZHRC owns a building given to it by the Government to use as operating space. However the offices require extensive renovations before the Commission can occupy them. In the meantime the ZHRC is has procured temporary office space with support from the Danish Institute for Human Rights from where it is operating.

Planned Future Activities

  • Develop internal control manuals (Human Resources Manual, Finance Procedures)
  • Train Commissioners on investigations and complaints handling
  • Support stakeholder meetings with ZACC, UN Agencies, and Defense Forces
  • Develop knowledge tools (Brochures, Thematic and Statutory reports)
  • Support development of Website and Logo