End statelessness in Matabeleland, govt told

Source: End statelessness in Matabeleland, govt told – The Southern Eye

AMNESTY International (AI) has urged government to ensure families of Gukurahundi victims and other stateless people have access to identity documents (IDs).

An undisclosed number of Gukurahundi victims have no identity documents after losing their parents and relatives during the mid-1980s civil strife in Matabeleland and Midlands area, which rendered them stateless.

In a recent report, the human rights watchdog said government should take effective measures, administratively and legislatively, to address statelessness.

“Government should take effective measures, administratively and legislatively, to ensure that all stateless descendants of migrant workers from Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and all other countries are granted citizenship in line with the Constitution.

“Furthermore, the government should take all appropriate steps to ensure that the descendants of victims of Gukurahundi are granted birth certificates and IDs,” partly reads the AI report.

AI urged government to ratify the 1961 United Nations Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and domesticate its provisions by adopting appropriate national laws and policy guidelines.

In February 2019, Cabinet approved amendments to the Zimbabwe Citizenship Act to allow dual citizenship in order to align it with the country’s 2013 Constitution.

However, these amendments have not been effected.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who at the time of the Gukurahundi massacres was State Security minister, has opened public debate on the emotive issue and has met traditional leaders and civic society groups in an effort to bring closure to it. Chiefs were tasked to lead the healing and compensation processes, but the process has frustrated the affected families as it is taking long.

The late former President Robert Mugabe deployed a North Korea-trained army unit, Fifth Brigade, to target suspected PF Zapu dissidents, resulting in the massacre of over 20 000 innocent civilians.