THE Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) says locals have little to celebrate during the annual Africa Day celebrations this Monday in a country where citizens are still under siege from a brutal state.
In its Africa Day message, the group lamented the continued violation of citizens’ rights in post-colonisation democracies such as Angola, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.
“ZLHR regrets that the majority of Zimbabweans do not have anything considerable to celebrate as the State and other non-State actors continue to undermine the fundamentals of democracy in the country,” said ZLHR.
The group also cited the lack of willingness by the Zanu PF led government to adopt the 2013 new constitutional authored painstakingly by citizens led by the then inclusive government.
The national charter, says ZLHR, carries high hopes for the improvement of political, economic and social conditions in Zimbabwe.
Says the group, “… constitutionalism remains elusive as duty bearers continue to violate the Constitution through acts of commission and omission with impunity while the ordeals of human rights defenders have not subsided.
“Citizens continue to be subjected to flagrant violations of their fundamental rights by State and non-State actors.
“Arbitrary arrests, torture, abduction and detention of human rights defenders continue two years after the adoption of a new Constitution which expanded civil liberties.
“It is disconcerting that the government and all the powerful State security organs cannot account for the whereabouts of Itai Dzamara, a pro-democracy activist, two months after he was disappeared.”
ZLHR further regretted the continued failure by the country’s national healing and transitional justice processes to heal the wounds of citizens affected by past state sponsored transgressions.
“Impunity remains a blight on the nation through failure to prosecute perpetrators of grave human rights violations,” says the group.
“It is equally unacceptable that the majority of Zimbabweans remain unemployed or informally employed and unable to clothe, feed, house, treat and educate themselves and their families in a Zimbabwe which is so blessed with abundant natural resources.”
ZLHR also condemned the state for signing up to African Hart but failing to domesticate it in Zimbabwe as was being witnessed in endless state violations such as forced evictions, failure to conduct free and fair elections and the use of oppressive laws on its critics.