Zim violates international law: Amnesty

Six years after the government-orchestrated Operation Murambatswina, Amnesty international has highlighted the importance of ensuring children have access to education.

28% of school-going children suffered severe disruptions.
28% of school-going children suffered severe disruptions.

In a recent report entitled Left Behind, Amnesty said Zimbabwe was in violation of international law because of its failure to ensure that children had a right to education.

“Amnesty International calls on the government of Zimbabwe to take urgent measures to ensure that thousands of children living in Operation Garikai settlements and others affected by the mass forced evictions have access to education as required under the ICESCR (Articles 13 and 14) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Article 17) to which Zimbabwe is a state party,” the United Kingdom-based organization recommended in its report.

“In line with its international obligations, the government should proactively ensure that thousands of children and young people living in Operation Garikai settlements benefit from national programmes to ensure the right to education.”

Amnesty further recommended that Zimbabwe commission an independent study into the long term impact of Operation Murambatsvina on the right to education, adopt and implement a national developmental education strategy which ensures that as a priority, all children access free, compulsory primary education, ensure that the right of access to public educational institutions and programmes on a non-discriminatory basis and in particular ensure that children without birth certificates are not denied access to education.

“Government must put in place a transparent and effective monitoring system to monitor the establishment of minimum educational standards,” added Amnesty.

In 2005, an estimated 700 000 people lost their homes, their livelihoods or both as a result of the Zimbabwean government’s campaign of mass forced evictions and demolitions of homes and informal business structures.

A 2010 study by the Solidarity Peace found that 28 per cent of Zimbabwe’s school going children suffered severe disruption (loss of more than a year of chooling). Half of these children (14 per cent) lost up to three years of education or dropped out of school permanently.

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