New human rights bill slammed as ‘useless’

May 22, 2011 at 12:12 am Leave a comment

Zimbabwe human rights groups have criticised a proposed human rights bill, saying it falls short of their expectations.

Last week the cabinet approved the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill as part of the Global Political Agreement.

The organisations, in particular those based in the Matabeleland provinces, such as the Zimbabwe Victims of Organised Violence Trust, have blasted the bill, citing its irrelevance to the Matabeleland and Midlands people who suffered during the government-sanctioned Gukurahundi massacres.

The trust said the draft was “useless”, and aimed at cushioning the majority of Zanu-PF “thugs” who have victimised people since independence.

It noted that the jurisdiction and mandate of the proposed human rights commission did not extend to cover the Gukurahundi massacres in which an estimated 20000 Ndebele-speaking Zimbabweans were butchered by soldiers deployed by President Robert Mugabe and his security chiefs in the early 1980s.

The bill is a partial fulfilment of constitutional amendment number 19, which proposed a human rights commission, among other institutions.

The bill is expected to mandate the Human Rights Commission to perform a range of duties, which include promoting and protecting human rights.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association said it appreciated the development, but added: “However, the organisation demands the investigation of all human rights violations dating back to the early 1980s. Issues such the Gukurahundi atrocities, the early 2000s land-grabbing, Murambatsvina and other human rights abuses committed before and after independence.”

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