(Public Statement 11/2017)
Issue Date: 12 September 2017
The decision by the Government of Zimbabwe, acting through the Zimbabwe Republic Police, to disrupt a peaceful event meant to inaugurate Mr Stanley Raphael Tshuma as King Mzilikazi 2 violated the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the people.
Article 2 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities clearly stipulates that “Persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities (hereinafter referred to as persons belonging to minorities) have the right to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion, and to use their own language, in private and in public, freely and without interference or any form of discrimination.” The article further states that “Persons belonging to minorities have the right to participate effectively in cultural, religious, social, economic and public life.”
The action of the Zimbabwean government is a brazen violation of the rights of the minority Ndebele people in Zimbabwe who have since the independence of Zimbabwe in 1980 been subjected to various heinous acts of marginalization, discrimination and subjugation including a tribal genocide that left over 20 000 Ndebele civilians dead.
This action further violates the fundamental rights of the people enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe especially:
- Freedom of assembly and association – Section 58 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe;
- Freedom of Conscience – Section 60 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe;
- Right to language and culture – Section 63 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe
As Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights we advise the organizers of the inauguration including all the people of Matabeleland whose rights were affected to approach the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and register their grievances.
MIHR also wishes to remind government and police authorities the concerned words of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mr Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on the 11th of September 2017 during his opening statement of the 36th Session of the Human Rights Council where he said “But the actions of violent extremists cannot totally obliterate our world. Only governments can do that – and this is the greater tragedy of today. Left on their current course, it will be governments who will break humanity.”
In that light therefore we urge the Zimbabwean government authorities not to break humanity by threatening and violating people’s rights and freedoms as seen today because it is the violation of human rights that breeds conflicts and extremism in the world.
Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights is an independent human rights think tank that exists to enhance the protection, promotion and fulfilment of fundamental human rights and freedoms in the Matabeleland region of Zimbabwe.
Mr Benedict Sibasa
MIHR General Secretary