ZHRC Leads Human Rights Monitoring Preparedness Ahead of 2018 PollsNov 27, 2017
A three-day dialogue session on human rights came to a close on 17 November 2017 with a call to protect and promote human rights as Zimbabwe prepares to hold the 2018 elections. Conducted by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, the highlight of the workshop was on the need to revisit with a perspective to review, reform and align Section 133H of the Electoral Act which create Special Investigative Committee that mandates the ZHRC to collaborate with duty bearers such as the ZRP, Political parties who may be in some instances perpetrators of electoral violence. Consensus was noted that the above provisions compromise the independence of the ZHRC. Stakeholders also commenced the development an election strategy to ensure that the elections are conducted in an atmosphere that protects and promotes the human rights of all citizens.
“Human rights violations have always taken centre stage during electoral processes in this country. Key rights such as freedom of assembly and association, freedom of expression, right to personal security, freedom from torture or cruel and inhuman treatment, freedom of conscience, among others, have been violated” remarked the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, Mr Elasto Mugwadi.
Participants were drawn from different stakeholders such as Government departments, Zimbabwe Republic Police, Parliament, Civil Society Organisations, Independent Commissions ZEC and ZGC, as well as the South African Human Rights Commission, Malawi Human Rights Commission for the sharing of regional South-South experiences.
Through support from UNDP, the ZHRC is embarking on a programme that seeks strategic engagement with key players from Government Institutions, CSOs, political parties, development partners, and the media, among others, to support the promotion and enforcement of fundamental human rights and freedoms during election processes for a free, fair and credible elections.