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 appeals to all people in Zimbabwe to commit to peace and fostering a culture of human rights ahead of the 2018 general elections.

Commemorated every year on 21 September and with this year’s day being observed under the theme “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All”, International Day of Peace is a day set aside for all humanity to commit to peace above all differences and to contribute to building a culture of peace.
Regrettably, in Zimbabwe, International Day of Peace, is being observed at a time when there is massive intolerance, some worrying incidences of politically motivated violence, arbitrary arrests, intimidation and intra and inter-party violence.

ZLHR condemns acts of political violence or any calls to use violence to settle political scores by some members of political parties.

Violence, in any form, and by any member of our society violates section 52 (a) of the Constitution which guarantees the right of every person to freedom from all forms of violence from public and private sources.

It is pertinent to appreciate that tolerance of differing opinions is a crucial aspect of democracy and any violent actions will further limit the right of people to exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms of peaceful assembly, expression and association, which are guaranteed under the Constitution and Zimbabwe’s international human rights obligations and are core values of any democracy.

While the 2013 Constitution now provides for the establishment of a National Peace and Reconciliation and Commission (NPRC), it is worrying that such an independent institution with a crucial mandate is not yet operational four years after the adoption of a new governance charter.

ZLHR hereby calls on:

  • Political party supporters to refrain from resorting to violence as a means of resolving differences;
  • All citizens and state and non-state actors to respect, promote and protect all human rights provisions in the Constitution, as well as other human rights instruments that Zimbabwe has ratified.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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