On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day
“Youth, Human Rights & Covid 19: Towards a Human Rights-Centred Recovery Plan for Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) joins the rest of the world in commemorating the International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2020. On this day in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR is a milestone document that proclaims the inalienable rights which everyone is entitled to as a human being – regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
This year’s theme is Recover Better – Stand Up for Human Rights. ZimRights has this year tapped into the theme when it held commemorations under the theme “Youth, Human Rights & Covid 19: Towards a Human Rights-Centred Recovery Plan for Zimbabwe.” This has brought focus on the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to build back better by ensuring human rights are central to recovery efforts. This informed the Impact of COVID 19 on the realization of human rights for youths. Specific attention was on section 20 of the Constitution which guarantees access to education, the right to participate and protection from harm and exploitation. 2020 International Human Rights Day comes at a time when the world is rocked by a ruthless pandemic which has provided a perfect cover for repressive governments to commit serious human rights violations.
The international human rights day, provides an opportunity to reflect on how Zimbabwe has progressed in implementing the bill of rights as well introspect on how we handled the Covid-19 pandemic and prioritise respect and promotion of human rights in the recovery plan.
The day finds Zimbabwe suffering a multitude of crises. Since the advent of COVID 19 in March 2020, Zimbabwe’s economic, political, social, and cultural state has continued to deteriorate. The civic and democratic space continues to shrink, and human rights violations, impunity, constitutional violations and discrimination on the basis of political affiliation have continued to increase. Corruption is on the increase with senior government officials fingered in the abuse of COVID-19 funds at the expense of the poor citizens. Cases of domestic violence have also escalated amid the COVID-19 lockdown periods a situation that requires mitigation measures to protect women from emotional, mental and physical abuse.
ZimRights commemorates the 2020 Human Rights Day through the provision of reflective platforms for communities to take stock of the milestones and deficits of the 2020 human rights journey as well as raise awareness and make policy proposals to remedy the emerging human rights crisis.
As we mark the IHRD ZimRights draws focus on the Impact of COVID 19 on the realization of human rights for youths with attention on section 20 of the Constitution which guarantees access to education, the right to participate and protection from harm and exploitation. ZimRights has provided leadership in putting human rights at the centre of COVID 19 responses based on a three pillar COVID 19 response strategy, which consists of humanitarian response, human rights monitoring and policy advocacy. Using guidelines of the UN and taking advantage of its strong grassroots foundation, ZimRights has amplified community voices and is creating a human rights conscious society
As we commemorate the International Human Rights Day, ZimRights calls upon the government to embrace the principles and spirit of the Declaration and fully respect, protect and fulfil all human rights of all its citizens and in particular to:
- Put human rights at the centre of the COVID 19 response. Government interventions must reflect the fact that at the centre of the fight against COVID 19 are critical human rights issues.
- Ensure full compliance with the Constitution even during times of crises by all its agents and institutions of government,
- Ensure that all human rights violations are fully investigated and remedied.
- Take urgent measures to resolve the ongoing socio-economic challenges that have eroded the dignity of the people.
- Take steps to ensure the nations is fully and adequately prepared for any disasters in the future including a clear recovery plan especially for communities devastated by past disasters.
Issued by the ZimRights Information Department