BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
AT least two million people in the country are failing to obtain identity documents due to the cumbersome processes at the registry offices, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) has revealed.
In its January newsletter, ZimRights stated that obtaining registration documents was a basic right enshrined in section 35 of the Constitution, but it was being violated as citizens were facing challenges in acquiring them.
“Without the documentation, citizenship cannot be fully enjoyed,” the human rights group said.
“For citizens to enjoy their rights, such as the right to participate in governance, education, health and others, their national identity must have been properly and legally established through national identity documents.”
In September 2020, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), an independent human rights institution, launched an inquiry into access to documentation and noted that the incompetency of the Registrar-General’s Office was making it difficult for citizens to acquire essential documents.
ZimRights urged community members who are having challenges in accessing registration documents to approach the courts and seek the enforcement of their right to identity and access to documentation.
Speaking during the official opening of a registry sub-office in Buhera recently, Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe said birth registration was compulsory in Zimbabwe and, therefore, establishing the offices was an effort by government to improve service delivery and ensure every citizen was documented.
ZimRights called for a human rights-based approach in service delivery at the registry offices.
“More importantly, the government and all its agencies must accommodate marginalised communities, minority groups, orphans and abandoned children, children of victims of Gukurahundi and other problems currently faced by communities in accessing documentation,” ZimRights added.
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