Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights conducted a survey to ascertain levels of access to human rights information by Bulawayo Residents. The survey was conducted between January and March 2016 and covered 22 of the 29 wards of the City of Bulawayo.
Below are the statistics and facts gathered by the survey:
Knowledge of Human Rights
Respondents were asked if they knew what Human Rights are and 61% of them claimed to know what human rights are, 20.7% said they don’t know and 18% were not sure what human rights are. Respondents were asked to name any 4 human rights enshrined in the Constitution and only 18% of them managed to identify four rights, 12,9% identified three rights, 9% identified two rights and 5% identified only one rights. 54.5% did not identify any right at all.
Access to Human Rights Information
20.7% of the respondents claimed to be having possession of a copy of the Zimbabwean Constitution and 79% said they do not have the Constitution. Those respondents who claimed not to have a copy of the Constitution (79%) were asked if they would want to have one and 90% of them said they want a copy of the Constitution whilst only 10% claimed they do not want to have a copy of the Constitution.
Respondents were asked if in the year 2015 they received any information on Human Rights and 33.7% said they did receive the information, 55.8% said they did not receive any information and 10% were not sure if they did or not.
Those respondents who claimed to have received human rights information in 2015 noted newsletters, workshops, television and public meetings as sources of information that provided them access to human rights information.
NGOs, government and other citizens were noted as sources that have disseminated human rights information with NGOs being noted as the most disseminators of human rights information.
Understanding of Human Rights
Respondents were asked to rate their understanding of human rights and 10% rated their understanding as Excellent, 16.9% rated Good understanding of rights, 35% rated Average with 13% rating Poor, 6.5% rated Very Poor and 18% did not rate at all.
On the question if they wanted more human rights information, 81.8% of the respondents said yes they do want more information, 5% said they do not need more human rights information, 7.8% were not sure and 5% did not rate at all.
However, 83% of the respondents noted that it is important for citizens to access human rights information and 17% were not sure if it is important for citizens to access human rights information or not.
Human Rights Mechanisms
Respondents were asked their knowledge of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and 80.5% did not know what the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission is whilst only 19% attempted to explain what the Human Rights Commission is. However, it should be noted that of the 19% who attempted to explain what the ZHRC is, about half of them explained wrongly.
On what they would do if their rights or the rights of their community members were violated, 41% said they do not know what to do, 17% said they will report to the responsible authorities, 13% said they will report to the police, 7.3% said they will report to the NGOs and activists, 6% said they will report to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, 4.9% said they will mobilize and protest whilst 3.7 will take legal action and 2.4% will take court action. 3.7% said they will not do anything even if their rights or the rights of their community members were violated.