UN association urges govt to safeguard human rights

BY FARAI MATIASHE

The Zimbabwe United Nations Association (Zuna) has called on the government and civil society organisations to safeguard human rights in socio-economic, political and cultural spaces in the country.

This comes as Zimbabwe at the weekend marked three years since the country underwent its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process in Geneva 2016 in November.

UPR is a theoretically (designed as a co-operative mechanism) and practically (domestic assessment of the human rights of States) mechanism of the UN whereby States openly declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries.

Zuna human rights officer Ashle Gandi Gandi said human rights violations, especially against women had shifted from home to world places due to economic meltdown, which is forcing women to venture into the world of work.

“The State, corporates and the civil society organisations have the absolute mandate to observe human rights at all times and in all their economic, social, cultural and political dimensions. The effect of constitutional institutional modification has seen an increase in trans-judicial communication which established a virtual human rights network across the nation, across the continent and globally. We all have the duty to safeguard, protect and fulfil human rights all the time,” Gandi said.

“Economic decline has also brought another scourge of human rights abuses, especially for women that need to be urgently addressed. More women are venturing into the world of work. Sexual violence has shifted from the home to the street and from the street to the office.”

The Zuna official said technology had added to the vulnerability of people from the unknown. It has also brought people much closer that before, it introduced a borderless world and humanity needs to be safeguarded from cyber human rights abuses.

Gandi said as the nation approaches the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, national systems and instruments needed to urgently address human rights violation issues for the attainment of the “world we want by 2030”.

UPR was established on March 15, 2006 when the Human Rights Council (HRC) was created by the UN General Assembly resolution 60/251.

“UPR processes ensure that States fully give people all their human rights as accorded by the UN Charter and human rights are principles that are inseparable from humanity,” Gandi said.

Hence the existence of human rights safeguarding institutions at international level such as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Council, among others.

Zimbabwe undertook its first review in October 2011 and was recently reviewed for the second time, on November 2, 2016 and 260 recommendations were made to Zimbabwe by different member States touching various human rights aspects.

The government accepted 142 of these recommendations, rejected 18 and while 100 are still pending from the preliminary outcome.

This was a substantial upgrade from the October 2011 review where 177 recommendations were made and 130 were accepted.

The universal periodic review for Zimbabwe will be in 2020.

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