The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) and National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) have signed an important Joint Investigations Agreement which is set to improve complaints handling through joint human rights investigations. The agreement was signed on the 8th of September 2020 at the ZHRC offices in Harare.
Through collaboration of work, the Chapter 12 Commissions will leverage each other’s expertise and resources to establish a coordinated system of addressing complaints, “ With this agreement we will establish an efficient case tracking and synchronised information sharing system which will ensure all complaints received are fully investigated, '' said Commissioner Mugwadi, Chairperson of the ZHRC. The establishment of an effective collaborative framework will also improve the Commissions case referral systems and avoid future duplication of work.
The Joint Investigations Agreement was initiated based on the Commissions common objectives outlined in section 233 of the Constitution, which states that the institutions have a collective mandate to protect human rights, support democracy and ensure that injustices are remedied in Zimbabwe. With an increase in complaints in the country, the combined expertise of the Commissions will be key in effectively addressing human rights issues.
Recognising the importance of providing citizens with a platform which protects and upholds their human rights, UNDP under its Global Programme on Strengthening the Rule of Law and Human Rights for Sustaining Peace and Fostering Development is supporting the design of the collaborative referral, complaints handling and investigations system. The significance of this initiative was reiterated by the UNDP Zimbabwe Resident Representative, Mr Georges van Montfort, “ The coming together of the Commissions is a landmark agreement as it fosters a more cohesive system that people can rely on to have their issues addressed and voices heard."