AN international human rights group has credited ZimRights and the Catholic Commission for Justice in Peace (CCJP) for documenting Gukurahundi atrocities, saying their records will assist in national healing processes.
Source: CCJP, ZimRights speak out on Gukurahundi – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 28, 2016
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The International Federation of Human Rights (IFDH) vice-president, Arnold Tsunga said Zimbabwe’s human rights situation remains critical, urging the government to honour its obligations of protecting and promoting of human rights.
Tsunga, who was the guest of honour during the ZimRights 2016 awards on Friday night in Bulawayo, said ZimRights and CCJP records on post-independence human rights violations, such as Gukuruhundi, will, assist in peace and nation-building initiatives to promote human rights observance.
“It is the human rights movement that has documented the killings of thousands of people that occurred after our independence in Matabeleland and Midlands that remain unresolved.
“ZimRights, the Legal Resources Foundation and the CCJP were instrumental in defending the rights of every Zimbabwean and documenting atrocities committed after independence and providing a historical record that will help the country resolve the post-independence killings and achieve true national healing in future,” he said.
The ZimRights awards were held under the theme Celebrating Community Courage.
It is estimated that over 20 000 civilians died when President Robert Mugabe deployed a North-Korean-trained army to Matabeleland and Midlands to crackdown on dissent to his rule.
Mugabe has described the mass killings as “a moment of madness”, with Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, at the burial of the late former Speaker of Parliament, Cyril Ndebele saying that was an apology enough.
Mphoko said the Gukurahundi issue must be tackled in a manner that does not dwell on finger-pointing, but benefits survivors with, for example, acquiring birth certificates.
“We need that rejuvenation and a lot of hard work to safeguard human rights and move our country from a good Constitution into good constitutional practices. The events of this year tell us in no uncertain terms that our human rights remain at stake. We have seen efforts to intimidate and discourage human rights activists by both State and non-State actors,” Tsunga said.
“Our message to the government of Zimbabwe is that it must honour its obligations with respect to observance, protection and promotion of human rights. The Constitution must be implemented in full through aligning all laws and bureaucratic practices.”