NGOs implore govt to fund rights commission

HARARE - The Zimbabwe government must bankroll the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), civil society groups have said.

This came out at a three-day workshop held in Mutare last week between the ZHRC and civil society organisations.

Leading rights groups including ZimRights and Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum attended the indaba.

Okay Machisa, the director of Zimrights, said the meeting was important as it enabled human rights organisations to connect with rights commissioners in charge of different thematic committees.

“We had an excellent meeting thanks to the ZHRC for opening up. Now with the commission showing serious intent, all those who seek to abuse human rights risk being arrested,” Machisa said.

He said the new constitution enshrines inalienable individual rights and it was important to capacitate the rights commission to enjoy those rights.

“The commission has the power, we should not forget that it was established only last year and already it was too late for it to do anything, to make matters worse, the commission does not have money to implement its programmes,” Machisa said.

“The ZHRC needs money; government should ensure that resources are availed for the organisation. If the commission is well funded, this will ensure accountability.”

The rights commission has a duty to promote the protection, development and attainment of human rights and freedoms.

It is also supposed to monitor, assess and ensure observance of human rights and freedoms. 

Machisa said the commission should be capacitated to ensure that it protects the public against abuse of power and maladministration by State and public institutions.

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