Human Rights Commission worried

reg_austinHARARE - The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has expressed concern over the governments reluctance to legalise its operations and accused the state of failing to finance it. (Pictured: The Human Rights Commission chairperson, Reg Austin.)

The eight-member Human Rights Commission, which was sworn in last year, has no secretariat of offices.

Its over a year since we were sworn in, but we still have no Act which gives us power to perform our mandate. Besides,we do not even know how we are going to operate because there is no law to guide us, the commissions Chairperson, Reg Austin, said on Wednesday.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission was created following a Constitutional provision agreed to by the Zanu (PF) and the two MDC formations. The commission is expected to investigate human rights abuses/atrocities and protect and promote the human rights of citizens.

Professor Austin said they needed at least US$8 million for the bodys operations this year alone.

We have not had a budget since last year and we have just presented our budget proposal which amounts to US$8 million to the government. Lack of funding by governments in Africa has failed Human Rights Commissions, and we believe it is the government that has the responsibility of funding the commission, he added.

Professor Austin has been under pressure from Human rights groups who have demanded that it investigate all human rights violations dating back to the early 1980s.

Professor Austin said issues like the Gukurahundi atrocities, Murambatsvina and other human rights abuses committed during the colonial period should be dealt with by the Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation while the Human Rights commission should dwell on the way forward.

From consultations we have so far made from other Africa countries which have similar commissions its important for the commission to look at contemporary issues and move forward because its task is not only to criticise, and attack issues of past human rights violations, but to create and build an awareness and a culture of promoting respect to human rights, he said.

Post published in: Politics

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *