Let's celebrate human rights day

HARARE - Next Monday, December 10, is International Human Rights Day and we will join the rest of the world in celebrating this important day which sadly comes at a time when the people’s rights are being trampled upon in Zimbabwe.

According to the United Nations, the International Human Rights Day presents an opportunity, every year, to celebrate human rights, highlight a specific issue, and advocate for the full enjoyment of all human rights by everyone everywhere.

This year, the spotlight is on the rights of all people — women, youth, minorities, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, the poor and marginalised — to make their voices heard in public life and be included in political decision-making. These human rights — the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, to peaceful assembly and association, and to take part in government (articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) have been at the centre of the historic changes in the Arab world over the past two years, in which millions have taken to the streets to demand change.

As Zimbabweans we should put our hands together to demand our rights from government be it economic, social and political.

President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai must embrace human rights whenever they conduct government business so that Zimbabwe can remain a peaceful and prosperous country to live in.

Millions of people in Zimbabwe today are at the mercy of poverty and diseases yet our politicians spend millions of dollars on luxuries like brand new cars, mansions and building useless meeting centres like the Hall of Shame in Gweru which tomorrow hosts the Zanu PF conference.

Zimbabweans deserve better in terms of human rights. On the political front, government still has a lot to do to satisfy people’s needs and aspirations.

Media space is still muzzled, laws are still being twisted in favour of one political party and we still have harsh laws like Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa), Criminal Defamation Act and the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) which are all aimed to stifling people’s freedom.

The real heroes who liberated this country did not fight to change the name of the country from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe only — they wanted real freedoms for the people. But we still maintain the laws used against Zimbabweans by the brutal and racist Smith regime.

Today, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights sets the ball rolling in commemorating International Human Rights Day through marching in the streets of Harare and will serve petitions to Parliament, the Supreme Court, the High Court, the ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs, the Attorney General’s Office, the Prime Minister and the President’s Office. - Staff Writer

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