Source: Govt gazettes ZHRC guidelines | The Herald August 11, 2016
Zvamaida Murwira : Senior Reporter
Government has gazetted regulations guiding the operations of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission that should be applied when it is discharging its constitutional obligations of dealing with complaints of human rights violations, maladministration or abuse of power against individuals and entities. Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who also oversees the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, announced the regulations in a Statutory Instrument in the latest Government Gazette.“It is hereby notified that the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has, in terms of Section 23 of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Act (Chapter 10:30), approved the following regulations made by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission,” reads the regulations.
Clause 3 of the regulations stipulates that the Commission will divide the country into two regions to receive complaints, namely the northern and southern region.
The northern region will comprise the provinces of Harare, Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West, while the southern region will include Bulawayo, Masvingo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Midlands.
Clause 5 states that a complaint can be lodged with the Commission by any person affected by the violation of a human right, any person acting on that person’s behalf, a person acting in the public interest or any association in the interest of its members.
The complaint must be made in writing or if the person is unable to do that, an officer receiving the complaint will need to complete the appropriate form.
“Within seven days after a complaint has been lodged in terms of Section Seven, an appropriate officer shall send the complainant a written acknowledgement of the complaint, specifying the reference number assigned to the complaint,” reads Clause 8.
The Commission is also obliged to take all necessary steps to ensure confidentiality if a complainant requested to have his or her identity protected.
The ZRHC is, however, required to inform the complainant if it considers the disclosure of certain particulars of the complainant, necessary in resolving the complaint.
“If a person refuses to consent to the disclosure of particulars, having been requested to do so in terms of subsection (3) or (4), the Commission may decline to deal with the complaint,” read the regulations.
The Commission is also required to give feedback of what will have become of a person’s complaint and if it was rejected, the reasons for such rejection.