22 Nov 2012
Key personalities in Zimbabwe’s human rights community have benefitted from three-day training as the country prepares to implement recommendations that it has endorsed under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the UN Human Rights Council.
The workshop on UN Human Rights Mechanisms for the Implementation of Zimbabwe’s UPR was held in the Manicaland town of Nyanga from 29 October-1 November 2012. It was aimed at imparting knowledge on the UN and Regional Human Rights Mechanisms and how these could aid in the implementation of the UPR.
It was attended by about 100 participants, including senior members of government, parliament, independent commissions, UN Country Team, civil society organizations, traditional leadership, labour market and the business sector.
The event was supported by UNDP and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The training package was part of the technical, advisory and material support provided by UNDP under a four-year programme on “Enhancing Justice Delivery and Human Rights for All”.
“We are convinced that true development is realised when human rights are protected and promoted” stated the UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Alain Noudehou in a speech delivered on his behalf at the training workshop.
At the 12th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva held on 12 October 2011 where Zimbabwe was reviewed by its peers under the Universal Periodic Review, the country agreed to implement 130 out of the 177 recommendations made.
“As a country, we should be able to meet our obligations under the UPR mechanism under the UN Human Rights Council and all the human rights instruments that Zimbabwe is party to,” said Mrs. Mabel Msika, Director of Policy and Research at the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs.
“The UPR process, from the compilation of the National Report stages up to the present, evolved out of wide and inter-sectoral consultations” observed Mrs. Msika adding that the follow-up process will greatly benefit from joint-programming, involving government, UNDP, UN Women and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Regional Office for Southern Africa.
A successful UPR process requires the input of civil society in the compilation of national reports and the implementation of the National Plan of Action.
This all-inclusive, participatory stakeholder involvement is viewed as “a best practice in citizen-centred, stakeholder-driven process,” said Mr. Niraj Dawadi, a human rights officer based with the OHCHR Regional Centre in South Africa.
“The way Zimbabwe has embraced the UPR mechanism by submitting a National Report and its patently genuine acceptance of a very big compliment of the Human Rights Council Recommendations and the massive all-stakeholders involvement is a move in the right direction,” said Dr. Tarisai Mutangi, a law professor based at the University of South Africa.
The National Plan of Action (NPA) for the implementation of the UPR recommendations will be formally launched on 10 December, 2012. It will be coordinated by an inter-ministerial committee to ensure coherence and sustainability.