Human rights groups urge alignment of laws with new Constitution

President Robert Mugabe signed the new constitution last year

HUMAN rights groups have called on the government to respect human rights issues by urgently repealing oppressive legislation and realign the country’s statutes with the new Constitution.


President Robert Mugabe signed the new constitution  last year
President Robert Mugabe signed the new constitution last year

In a statement to mark Africa Day commemorations, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said an anti-impunity programme must be put in place to ensure perpetrators of human rights violations were brought to book.

“Constitutionalism is key to developing common positive national values, respect for rights and strong, effective and accountable institutions,” the human rights group said.

“Diversity of opinion, information and thought strengthens a society and there is need to meaningfully free the media, widen access to information, and allow freedom of speech, thought, conscience, assembly and association.”

The ZLHR said alignment of laws with the new Constitution by all relevant ministries and Parliament should be among government’s top priorities.

“The current scourge of corruption must be meaningfully tackled and eradicated and all Zimbabweans should be included in national and local programmes, activities and discussions about our past through an effective National Peace and Reconciliation Commission.

“Appointment of an Attorney-General independent from the National Prosecuting Authority is urgent and essential.”

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Zimbabwe chapter urged government to repeal or amend all existing legislation which restricted freedom of the media, freedom of expressions and that media laws should be aligned with the constitution.

“In undertaking this fundamental role, the government should be guided by Article 9 of the African Charter and the Banjul Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression, to secure and protect citizens’ right to freedom of expression and other fundamental human rights and freedoms provided for under the new Constitution,” Misa said.

The media advocacy group said laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, the Censorship and Entertainment Controls Act, Interception of Communications Act, Official Secrets Act, and many others needed urgent repeal.


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