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‘Human rights mutilated’

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A Zimbabwean youth rights group has urged members of the Constitutional Parliamentary Select Committee (Copac) to ensure they produced a constitution with a clear-cut Bill of Human Rights.

National Youth Development Trust programmes manager, Mmeli Dube, told NewsDay last Friday the Bill of Rights in the old constitution had been mutilated and no longer guaranteed citizen’s rights.

“There are laws that contradict the execution and enjoyment of human rights such as the Public Order and Security Act (Posa). Posa contradicts the freedom of assembly whereas the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act contradicts freedom of expression,” Dube said.

“The constitution seems to be a mere document, yet it should guide policies and frameworks, and Zimbabwe should be a constitutional democracy.”

Dube blamed State agents for allegedly violating people’s rights by “omission or commission, ignoring or acting out human rights abuses respectively”.

“Abuse of human rights is often State-sponsored. The State has abdicated its role of protecting, respecting and fulfilling human rights,” he said.

Dube said human rights concerns should be included in community structures so as to complement the Bill of Rights.

“Institutional architecture, laws and policies should dovetail with the Bill of Rights.”

He said Zimbabwe should have a broadened bill of rights that included ratification of International Human Rights laws.

“There is need for documentation of human rights violations in order to input into advocacy, media should find ways of deterring people from abusing human rights,” he said.

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