‘Disseminate human rights messages in indigenous languages’

ZIMBABWE Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) chairperson Elasto Mugwadi yesterday called for the dissemination of human rights messages in indigenous languages to ensure the information spreads to grassroots levels.

BY PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI

Speaking during the unveiling ceremony of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Shona and Ndebele in Harare, Mugwadi said disseminating information to people in their languages was in line with the country’s new Constitution and other international instruments.

“If information is communicated to people in a language which they do not understand it is no better than the proverbial ‘justice delayed is deemed denied’,” he said.
“There is no better way of achieving this objective than by applying the language of the people as we are now witnessing today.”

Mugwadi said more would now be able to understand issues of human rights in their own indigenous languages.

He said the adoption of the country’s new Constitution in May 2013 marked an important phase in the country’s history as the new governance charter had a comprehensive bill of rights under Chapter 4 which domesticated almost all the provisions of the universal declaration of human rights.

“In this regard, the Zimbabwe Constitution is considered to be a progressive document that sets the fundamental legal framework on which to build and proper and truly constitutional State,” he said.

United Nations resident co-ordinator in Zimbabwe Bishow Parajuli said although the document had so far been translated into only two languages, it was “the beginning of a long journey” since the Zimbabwe constitution recognised 16 indigenous languages.

“Together, we will surely get there when our Zimbabwean children and youths will have the opportunity to read the articles of the declaration in their own mother tongue and apply them in their lives and for the benefit of their communities,” he said.

Principal administration officer in the Foreign Affairs ministry Francis Munhundiripo said the unveiling came at an opportune time and government was anticipating further collaboration with the United Nations Information Centre.

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