ZLHR statement on international day of peace

ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) joins the rest of the world in commemorating the United Nations International Day of Peace and calls upon Zimbabweans to commit to peace, fostering national unity and stability.

Commemorated each year on 21 September, International Day of Peace is observed around the world and was declared as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all
nations and peoples. In 2018, International Day of Peace is being commemorated under the global
theme “The Right to Peace – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70”.

This year, ZLHR joins the world to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a historic document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948, which was the first instrument to provide for individual rights, which provisions were subsequently used to guide the development of other human rights instruments that followed on thematic rights and issues.

In commemoration of International Day of Peace, it is pertinent that global citizens and states including Zimbabwe live up to the provisions of the landmark document, which in Article 3 provides that; “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”
The foundation of freedom, justice and peace recognises the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable
rights of all members of the human race.

The adoption of Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 by the United Nations particularly Sustainable
Development Goal 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, emphasises on peaceful resolution of
conflict whenever disagreements emerge.
ZLHR believes that a peaceful Zimbabwe can only be built in an environment of economic and social
development and there cannot be sustainable development without peace.

However, in Zimbabwe it is regrettable that authorities continue to pay lip service to the eradication of avoidable medieval diseases such as cholera and typhoid, which have claimed several lives while
provision of safe, clean and potable water, sanitation, health, education and a clean environment,
remains a pipe dream.

ZLHR is worried by the flagrant violations of citizens’ fundamental rights marked by arbitrary arrests,
detention, prosecution and persecution of human rights defenders and ordinary citizens including the
harassment of informal sector traders.

The killing of unarmed civilians following the presence of armed members of the Zimbabwe Defence
Forces on the streets of Harare on 1 August 2018 is very disturbing and a threat to national peace.
All citizens including state and non-state actors have a duty to respect, promote and protect all human
rights provisions in the Constitution, as well as other regional and international human rights
instruments of which Zimbabwe is a state party.

It is critical for all citizens, state institutions to embrace the national objectives of national unity, peace and stability as provided in section 10 of the Constitution.

Therefore, ZLHR urges;

  • All peace loving Zimbabweans to build peace blocks through ending violence and fostering a culture of human rights.
  • The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) to fully execute its mandate of
    preventing conflict, promoting peace, pursuing the healing and reconciliation agenda and ensure postconflict justice and provide rehabilitative programmes for victims of human rights violations and other abuse.
  • Government to ensure adequate allocation of funding and resources to the NPRC and guarantee its
    independence and effectiveness.
  • Members of the security services to conduct themselves with utmost respect for all the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution of Zimbabwe and international instruments that Zimbabwe is party to and those members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces involved in the killing and gross violation of citizens’ rights to be appropriately disciplined or prosecuted and be held accountable to prevent recurrence.

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