NGOs want ‘08 abuses probed

A planned Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission should be fully independent and mandated to investigate rights abuses dating back to the violent 2008 presidential election run-off, local rights groups have said.

A parliamentary committee has been trying to gather views from Zimbabweans on a new Human Rights Bill seeking to establish the independent rights body, but a hearing at Parliament building last Saturday degenerated into violence after Zanu (PF) supporters disrupted the meeting.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, a local grouping of rights bodies, said the commission should be independent to investigate rights violations and have the power to force witnesses to appear before the body to produce evidence.

“The Commission should be given the broad mandate to monitor compliance by the government of its obligations under the international law. As a result, its scope of violations should cover all issues covered by international human rights instruments to which Zimbabwe is a party.”

The current bill restricts the commission to investigate abuses carried out after February 13, 2009 when the unity government was formed but the NGO Forum also said in its form, the bill limited the scope of the commission’s operations.

The rights groups are seeking a clause in the Bill to provide for punitive measures against people who interfere with the work of the Commission to undermine its independence.

They also want the Commission to follow up on the implementation of its recommendations and decisions and to intervene in relevant cases before the courts.

Post published in: Politics

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