BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
CIVIL Society Organisations (CSOs) have implored business people to join rights defenders in the struggle to promote respect for human rights and constitutionalism.
The CSOs made the appeal last week in Harare during the joint launch of the 2021 State of Human Rights Report and the 2021 State of Peace report by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZHRC) respectively.
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum executive director Musa Kika said the business sector was lagging behind in fighting for constitutionalism and respect for human rights.
“Business too has an obligation on issues to do with human rights… In our 2013 Constitution, we elected a different approach and we made it explicit that the State and non-State actors, State actors, natural person and juristic person, all have negative and positive obligations to respect, promote, protect and fulfil human rights,” Kika said.
“Often times in Zimbabwe, the struggle for human rights has been led by lawyers and CSOs and we do not see business coming to the party and I think as human rights defenders, we are guilty of not engaging business enough as we ought to and that must change. How does business strive? What is business in an environment where there is no constitutionalism and rule of law?”
Kika added that CSOs were operating under a volatile political environment which required resilience to continue operating and fighting rights violations. In the 2021 State of Human Rights report, the CSO implored government to expedite operationalisation of the Independent Complaints Mechanism to promote justice for victims of State sponsored violence.
“Government must uphold constitutionalism and respect the rule of law. Judicial independence must be safeguarded and the executive must respect separation of powers. The government must desist from further arbitrary amendments to the Constitution and to fully implement the Constitution.”
“It must expedite the constitutional alignment process, with substantive reforms aligning legislation to the Constitution and in particular, government must, without any further delay operationalise Section 210 (on the) Independent Complaints Mechanism,” the report partly reads.