Decentralise ZHRC: Mutoko villagers

RESIDENTS of Mutoko in Mashonaland East province have appealed to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) to decentralise its operations and set up branches in different districts in order to reach ordinary Zimbabweans.

Speaking at a ZHRC awaress meeting in Mutoko at the weekend, the residents said their rights were being violated daily, but they were not able to report the violations due to the commission’s inaccessibility, as their offices are only located in Harare and Bulawayo.

“We are appealing for sub-branches here in Mutoko, so that we can report human rights violations and they can also be addressed early,” Tatenda Maonese, a villager pleaded.

Taken from Newday

Another villager, Rumbidzai Mhetu said: “I was not aware what rights were contained in the Bill of Rights before this road show. We really need human rights education in periphery areas because we have no access to the Constitution and, therefore, not aware of the rights we have.”

Mutoko assistant district administrator, Nelson Tapera said the ZHRC awareness campaign was aimed at conscientising villagers about their rights.

“The commission has no offices here and it is only through such programmes that people get to know of the existence of the commission and its roles. Mutoko people now know where to go and report violations,” he said.

Chief Mutoko, who attended meeting, appealed for more programmes that educate people on human rights.

“People have been educated about their rights. Now even women and girls in my area will be able to claim their rights. I am appealing for more workshops and road shows for my people to be enlightened. I am sure the education will also reduce violations,”he said

Among the rights violations that were said to be rampant in Mutoko was the politicisation of food aid, marriage of underage girls and failure by children to access education due to the inhibitive school fees in the face of the El Nino-induced drought.

ZHRC has embarked on countrywide outreach programmes to educate people on their rights and freedoms and the existence of the commission. The programme was being supported by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights and Zimbabwe Human Rights Association.

Design and development supported by HURIDOCS.