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Parliament calls for human rights office


The Parliamentary Thematic Committee on Human Rights has asked visiting United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, to set up an office in Zimbabwe to facilitate investigations into cases of human rights abuses. The committee, chaired by Zaka Senator Misheck Marava, made the request during a meeting with the UN rights envoy at Parliament building on Tuesday.

“We look forward to the Office of the High Commissioner establishing a presence in Zimbabwe to monitor human rights issues and to provide important capacity building support to the committee and other human rights institutions like the Human Rights Commission and the inter-ministerial committee on human rights which are not yet operational,” reads a document presented by the committee to Pillay. “We hope that the Human Rights Commission Bill will be finalised soon on the scope of mandate so that it becomes operational before the next election.”

The committee also asked the UN to provide them with logistical support needed for the ratification and domestication of important human rights treaties, so that they could benefit the people of Zimbabwe.

“Some of these treaties include the convention for the protection of all people against enforced disappearances; the convention on the elimination of discrimination against women; the convention on the rights of the child; the protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children; the Kampala Declaration on refugees, returnees and internally-displaced persons and the UN convention on the rights of people with disabilities,” the document reads.

Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa recently said records on human rights instruments that had been domesticated were in shambles and consultants had since been appointed to take each human rights clause to see if it had been made into law. Pillay, who arrived in the country on Sunday on government invitation, is on a five-day working visit which ends tomorrow.

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