By Prince Njagu
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) on Thursday came under scrutiny from activists that they are not doing their jobs as a watchdog of human rights in the country.
This comes after an increase in the spate of human rights abuses in the country.
Speaking at a workshop hosted by Zimbabwe United Nations Association (ZUNA) on the Universal Periodic Review Training in the capital, activists accused ZHRC of not playing its watchdog role as a human rights defender in the country.
“How can you talk of UPR at such a time when they are cases of human rights violation in the country?
“As of recent we have two issues which are making the headlines in the media; one of occupy Africa Unity Square activists Itai Dzamara and the bludgeoning of Jim Kunaka,” said Paddington Japajapa.
The training workshop was to educate members of the public and civil society on Universal Periodic Review and how they push responsible authorities to adopt internationally accepted human rights laws.
Chatsama indicated that Zimbabwe carried out a consultative stakeholder’s validation process in June 2011 which was followed by the adaptation of the report in March 2012.
“UPR is about revising human rights actions which involves sharing of the best human rights practices around the globe,” said University of Zimbabwe Institute of Development Studies Dr Musiiwa
Responding to allegations raised by activists Law Officer in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Yvonne Chatsama defended the state of the legal framework in the country and acknowledged that the government was implementing suggestions which were drawn from last year’s UPR submission by the government.
Musiiwa emphasized on the fact that UPR submissions were not a time to point fingers at each other by it is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 United Nations member states and everyone had to put an input since everyone is affected.
The training workshop on the Universal Periodic Review was themed, “Involving CSOs, Media and Grassroots in National Human Rights issues.”