Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) joins the world in commemorating International Human Rights Day, an occasion that celebrates the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.

This year’s commemoration is running under the theme “Recover Better-Stand Up for Human Rights.”

This chosen theme is in sync with the Covid-19 pandemic and recovery. It focuses on creating equal opportunities for everyone and addressing the failures and disappointments we all were exposed to due to Covid -19.

As VISET, following the promulgation of the lockdown by Government of Zimbabwe, which saw the suspension of many basic rights through enactment of Presidential Powers, we saw the deployment of armed forces at security checkpoints and in major towns and cities. There were many reports of harassment and beatings by soldiers manning checkpoints, as well as bribe seeking. Many people that were seeking medical treatment were turned away if they did not have exemption letters.

For vendors and Informal Traders, the advent of the lockdown also brought pain of destruction of marketplaces and loss of wares through ‘clean-up’ operations by local authorities countrywide.

For many a citizen, many violations occurred that were unreported due to inability to travel or due to the fact that some of the violators were state actors.

Today’s commemoration is coming on the backdrop of ongoing destruction of houses by local authorities ostensibly because they were constructed outside of city council regulations. These destructions are totally inhumane particularly due to the fact that beneficiaries of these stands were led to believe that a regulatory process would be undertaken and that there would be no destructions. It goes without saying that the right to shelter is a universally acknowledged right and should be upheld by all.

As the world is now on the brink of a massive roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine, we implore the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure that the corruption that was witnessed in the procurement and donations of personal protective equipment (PPEs) is dealt with and culprits brought to book in order to ensure that vaccines reach all in need particularly the vulnerable who make a significant portion of not only our sector but the country’s population. It is also a time to reach out to development partners to assist in retooling our derelict hospitals as we are led to believe that these vaccines require certain temperatures amongst other special considerations for their effectiveness.

It is equally our prayer that all rights and freedoms as contained in the Zimbabwe Constitution of 2013 are restored to the benefit of all citizens of our great nation.

Source: Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET)