A BASELINE survey on perception, attitudes and understanding on human rights in Zimbabwe which was released yesterday by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) revealed that Zimbabweans are scared to discuss human rights issues for fear of reprisals.
by VENERANDA LANGA
The study which was carried out by researchers Dorothy Mushayavanhu and Tarisai Mutangi on behalf of the ZHRC looked at human rights issues during the year 2013 in all the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe.
“Most respondents associated human rights with politics and were not comfortable to discuss them for fear of reprisals and being labelled as belonging to the opposition political parties,” read the baseline survey report.
“Some of the respondents were happy that the discussion on human rights gave them a glimmer of hope in asserting their rights such as the right to freedom of expression as the restrictions on these rights also affected the right of workers to organise and strike.”
The rights violations that the report covered included gender-based violence, harassment by the police, marginalisation of some regions, children’s rights, right to education, health, water, disability rights, workers’ rights, environmental, social and political rights and even the rights of sex workers.
The researchers said most respondents in the Matabeleland and Midlands region were not happy with the fact that they were being marginalised as they viewed marginalisation in terms of non-enjoyment of the right to development, massive factory closures in Bulawayo and subsequent relocation of others to Harare.
They also came up with findings that child abuse and child marriages were common in all the provinces.
“The right to health is not being fully realised. This is due to shortage of medicines for chronic illnesses in all provinces such as the ARV paediatric formula. In Mashonaland provinces, especially in Kazangarare in Hurungwe district there are no Anti-Retroviral Treatment centres,” the research revealed.
“The non-enjoyment of the right to clean and safe potable water resonated in all provinces and in both urban and rural settings.”