HUMAN rights groups yesterday blasted government’s failure to respect United Nations declarations on peace, saying citizens were not enjoying peace as their constitutional, socio, economic and political rights were being trampled on by State security agents.
Source: Rights groups breathe fire over abuses – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 22, 2016
By VENERANDA LANGA
Their statement came at a time when the world yesterday observed the International Day of Peace, which is devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace within and among all nations.
The theme for this year’s UN International Day of Peace is: The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) expressed concern over delays in operationalising the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), which has been outstanding for the past three years after adoption of the new constitution.
“The NPRC is yet to discharge its mandate of preventing conflict and promoting peace, dealing with the past and bringing Zimbabweans closer together. ZLHR appeals to all arms of government to uphold the concept of separation of powers, and to all peace loving Zimbabweans to build peace blocks through ending violence and fostering a culture of human rights,” the ZLHR said in a statement.
They also condemned police brutality against peaceful protestors, adding the Zimbabwe Republic Police has the constitutional obligation to maintain law and order, and, therefore, needs to exercise restraint and maintain professionalism while doing so.
Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT)said withdrawal of the NPRC Bill in the National Assembly in May after nationwide public consultative meetings was testimony that the Bill failed to offer a comprehensive framework to justice, healing, reconciliation and social cohesion.
“HZT implores the Ministry of National Healing to swiftly move in to ensure commencement of the Parliamentary processes that lead to the enactment of the law and effective operationalisation of the NPRC.”
They urged government to also engage protestors and proffer solutions to their grievances rather than harshly quelling protests using violence.
The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) said there was no way Zimbabweans can enjoy commemorations of International Day of Peace when their constitutionally guaranteed rights as citizens were continuously violated by duty bearers with impunity.
“Citizens have in the past few months been subjected to police brutality all in a bid to stop them from making demands which are building blocks to enjoying peace.”
ZPP said food shortages, unfair distribution of resources, and enforced disappearances of people resulted in failure to achieve peace in the country.
They urged non-governmental organisations and churches to promote peace-building initiatives.