BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
DISPLACEMENT of villagers from their ancestral land to pave way for corporate activities is increasingly becoming one of the major human rights violations in the country, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) has said.
In a statement to commemorate International Day of Peace held yesterday, ZimRights said government was displacing communities and parcelling out the land to businesses run by friends and families of the ruling elite. Thousands of villagers throughout the country are facing eviction, while others have already been displaced to pave way for Chinese mining companies.
The rights organisation said continued suspension of by-elections was depriving citizens of their right to directly influence how they were governed, which was against the provisions of the Bill of Rights.
“ZimRights, therefore, calls on the government of Zimbabwe to participate in the peace-building journey by respecting the rights of the people of Zimbabwe as enshrined in the Bill of Rights,” ZimRights said.
“During the course of the year, we have documented serious violations of human rights that are an affront to our Constitutional obligation to work for the peace and justice of all. (These include) the displacement of communities from their ancestral and agricultural lands to pave way for big businesses that are owned by friends and families of the ruling elite.”
The rights organisation also implored the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission to maintain its independence from political interference in peace building with regards to the Gukurahundi atrocities.
“ZimRights further calls upon the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission as the commission charged with advancing the national goals on peace and reconciliation to adhere to its constitutional mandate, maintain its independence and regain the confidence of the people of Zimbabwe,” ZimRights said.
“The NPRC must further distance itself from political activists that are bent on destroying its credibility.
ZimRights offers its solidarity to all the Zimbabwean communities that have never known peace in a long time, encouraging them to remain vigilant in the pursuit of peace.”
The National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) implored the State to ensure that adequate resources are availed to the NPRC to enable it to take the necessary steps in peace building on the Gukurahundi genocide.
“This year’s commemoration of the International Day of Peace comes at a time when the Gukurahundi is a topical transitional justice issue in Zimbabwe,” NTJWG said.
“This is attributable to the theft of the Gukurahundi memorial plaques in Silobela and Bhalagwe.
“While these thefts have been condemned by civil society and other stakeholders, the NTJWG is concerned by the silence of the State and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission on this issue. The NTJWG calls on the NPRC to take action to investigate the thefts and hold the perpetrators accountable.”
The International Day of Peace was held under the theme Recovering Better for an Equitable and Sustainable World.