Today, 10 December the world commemorates the International Human Rights Day. This year`s International Human Rights Day marks the 63rd anniversary after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Citizen in Action Southern Africa (CIASA) joins the rest of the world in commemorating the International Human Rights Day in commemorating the IHRD that is being held under the theme, “Equality, Reducing Inequalities, Advancing Human Rights”. This year`s theme is timely considering the global rise in inequalities and distribution of income and resources between the global north and south and also social classes. The excesses of greed capitalism and authoritarianism has exposed the majority of the global population to exploitation that is being executed with brutal force and precision. CIASA is concerned with the rise in vulnerabilities of marginalised indigenous communities and special groups to the violations in their rights in Southern Africa. The slow economic growth, budgetary allocations that are anti-people and the adoption of neo-liberal policies that favour profit ahead of people has led to the widening of gaps in resource distribution and the provision of basic service delivery.
CIASA notes the continued use of excessive force by Southern African governments in responding to citizens calls for justice. The incarceration of Human Rights Defenders such as Makomborero Haruzivishe from Zimbabwe, the use of deadly force against pro-democratic protestors in eSwatini which left 37 dead, the hundreds of working class and poor people who died in the July riots in South Africa which were inspired by lack of basic necessities and the deadly impact on civilians of the Cabo Delgado conflict in which both the extremists and military are accused of and many other forms of human rights violations that include child labour in the agriculture and extractive sectors , child marriages among others are reflective of the deteriorating state of human rights in the region.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and without clear well thought response mechanisms that are responsive to the needs of the people has been disastrous with people from poor and working class backgrounds being the worst affected from the physical ailment of the disease, the loss of income for those in the informal sector, the retrenchments and emotional stress from the Covid-19 induced lockdowns all this having a massive impact on realization of the Economic, Social, and Cultural rights of the people in Southern Africa.
Following all these observations, CIASA strongly urge governments and corporates in Southern Africa to embrace the principles and spirit of the UHRD fully promote and protect the respect of rights of all peoples and address factors driving inequalities, in particular the need for governments to align their constitutions to the UHRD, ensure that statutory bodies that monitor and investigate human rights abuses are capacitated and independent, that violators of Human rights are held accountable and that there is an urgent resolution of the socio-economic challenges that are feeding inequalities and indignifying the majority of the people in the region. CIASA remains committed towards the protection, promotion and empowerment of people especially the marginalized in the region for enjoyment of their rights.