The National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) has demanded for an effective and participatory functioning of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC).
Reflecting on the first term of the Commission, the NTJWG has called for the voices of survivors and civil society to be prioritised in the formulation of a policy framework for the Gukurahundi exhumations.
The transitional justice platform raised concern over the side lining of the NPRC in the Gukurahundi exhumations engagements that have been presided by President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Four consultative meetings on the reburial of the remains of victims of human rights violations perpetrated during Gukurahudi have been conducted so far in the Matabeleland regions and the NPRC has not been invited to any of these.
“Carrying out exhumations and reburials is part of the NPRC’s mandate and any role that may be assigned to any stakeholders in respect of exhumations must be one that is aimed at providing the necessary support to the NPRC to enable it to effectively lead the process,” argued the NTJWG.
The role of the NRPC in the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) has also been questioned by the NTJWG. The advocacy platform believes that the participation of the NPRC in POLAD impacts on its reputation and independence since POLAD is regarded as exclusive and too politicised to adequately address the wide variety of issues that the country must contend with to ensure national peace and reconciliation.
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NTJWG has called on the NPRC to employ innovative strategies to remain present and visible in communities affected by past incidences of human rights violations. The NTJWG bemoaned the lack of awareness on the existence of the Commission amongst survivors it has interacted with.
The first term of the NPRC commissioners appointed in 2016 expired in February 2021 and the NTJWG has called on the President and Parliament to urgently finalise the process of appointment of a new commission and notify the public of which commissioners have successfully renewed their terms of office. Adequate funding was also highlighted as a key requirement for the realisation of results in the second term of the commission.
The NTJWG is platform established by 46 Zimbabwean transitional justice stakeholders to provide interface between transitional justice stakeholders and the official transitional justice processes in Zimbabwe. The NTJWG shares with all transitional justice stakeholders the vision for a peaceful, just, accountable and democratic society.
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Source: National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG)