International human rights day commemoration statement

''Human rights defenders who act to end discrimination.''
ROHR Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world to recognize the lives, the work, and sacrifice of men, women and children anonymous, known, celebrated and not; who have dedicated their lives for the cause of fighting, defending and advancing the cause of improving humanity through human rights.

We pay respects to all the women who have had to put up with the role of standing in the gap everyday to fight for the basic fundamental human rights for their off springs in an un-supporting environment in which rights are violated at the whim of politicians and unruly oppressive systems.

Human rights defenders in Zimbabwe have been at the centre of the struggle for justice, peace, freedom, democracy, good governance and fundamental human rights for more than a decade in trenches to undo unjust tendencies, oppressive legislation, illegitimate rulership, closed media space and the dictates of a discriminatory society. Their lives literally, are a fierce struggle within a struggle as efforts to speak out against violence, abuse of human rights is met with brutal vindictive action designed to snuff and silence the voice of reason.

The watchdog role of demanding transparency and accountability has been persecuted systematically regrettably by the state and its incumbent institutions.

Characteristic enough, the security of human rights defenders has been and still continues to be a huge and serious cause of concern not only in Zimbabwe but in many other countries. Protesters, journalist, lawyers, political and human rights activists have had their security publicly ruthlessly violated as a message and example to sent clear statements of discouragement to those who aspire to engage in the selfless work of fighting for human rights.

As we commemorate this year’s International Human Rights day and gather strength, courage and inspiration from the achievements by human rights defenders, ROHR Zimbabwe makes it a record that the lives of human rights defenders remains at risk. It is concerning to note that nothing has been done by the coalition government to priorities the security of the ordinary person let alone that of a human rights defender particularly during contentious times like elections .

We note with grave concern that a lot needs to be done at government and state institutional level build capacity, political will and professionalism of systems that protect and guarantee the security of human rights defenders without discrimination or prejudice. We strongly condemn the unfair treatment of human rights defenders before the law and judicial processes as has been the case in our situation.

Appreciating that defending human rights is not an occasion but a lifetime commitment, we challenge the government and the parliament to constantly monitor and evaluate the treatment of human rights defenders. It is our principled belief that a government’s treatment of campaigners of human rights determines the quality of that society’s democracy. Apart from security concerns as a grouping of human rights defenders we demand the following:

. Delivery of justice without discrimination on the pending cases

involving human rights defenders

. Freedom of expression, assembly and association without seeking

clearance from the state institutions

. An end to impunity

. An end to brutality and torture of human rights defenders by the

uniformed forces

. An end to the harassment and intimidation of the families of human

rights defenders by state agents or any other group of people

. Human rights defenders should be compensated by the state when they

are wrongly jailed and ill-treated.

As we remember those who have lost their lives, tortured, raped, abducted, wrongly detained, as in the worlds of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “

let us be inspired by those seeking to make our world more just” and join the noble effort “And let us remember that everyone — no matter their background, training or education — can be a human rights champion.”

For Peace, Justice and Freedom

Post published in: Politics

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