ZimRights Welcomes the Report of the ZHRC on the National Inquiry into Access to Documentation
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) applauds the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) for the successful completion of the Inquiry on Access to Documentation in Zimbabwe and subsequent launch of the report, which was launched on 30 September 2020 in Harare. The report will go a long way to inform government policy to address the challenges Zimbabweans face in accessing the important documents.
The national inquiry was conducted to find out the challenges Zimbabweans face in accessing the birth certificate, national identity card, passports, citizenship and death certificates. This is Zimbabwe’s first national inquiry in the quest to address the impact of systematic violations of human rights.
Access to national documentation is at the core of the enjoyment of the fundamental human rights. ZimRights welcomes the report and shares the same observation with the ZHRC that only when Zimbabwe uses a human rights based approach to providing the national documents can the crisis be solved.
ZimRights is saddened that the inquiry revealed that the biggest challenges people are facing resulted from failure to acquire birth certificates hence millions of Zimbabweans remain statelessness despite the constitutional provision in section 35 (3) (c) which states that all Zimbabwean citizens are entitled to birth certificates and other identity documents issued by the State.
ZimRights commend the Commission for an honest report that also gives recommendations on how the documentation crisis can be addressed and ensure that citizens are not fleeced when acquiring the documents. Acquiring must be a smooth process that does not see citizens sleeping in queues to access documents as is the case now.
ZimRights calls on government and in particular, the Registrar General’s office to comply and implement the recommendations and ensure that citizens have access to national documents.
ZimRights is committed to supporting the work of the ZHRC in ensuring that the findings of Inquiry are made known to the communities most affected by lack of access to documentation. Through this, communities are empowered to make use of the report and claim their rights. ZimRights further commits to pushing for the relevant policy reforms meant to eliminate the obstacles to the full enjoyment of rights cited in the report.