Today (Monday 22 March 2021) Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) joins the progressive world in commemorating the World Water Day under the theme “valuing water”.
The commemoration comes at the time when MIHR ends the 9 weeks long #MondayWaterAction campaign which began on Monday 25 January 2021 and gave Bulawayo residents skills and space to nonviolently demand the protection and promotion of water rights in Zimbabwe.
As we commemorate the World Water Day 2021, we reiterate the need to protect and promote the right to water for all by calling on the government of Zimbabwe and the local authorities to end all forms of water poverty, especially considering that water is a critical component towards eradicating extreme poverty, curbing the spread of the Covid19 pandemic and other such diseases as Diarrhea and Cholera; as well as improving nutrition and economic development.
We specifically call on the responsible local authorities and the Government of Zimbabwe (through its various arms and agencies) to value water by ensuring that:
- They adopt a Zero tolerance to water pollution by industrial waste, mining activities, burst sewer effluent, as well as various forms of solid waste pollutants.
- Reduce the distance traveled by rural communities to their nearest water point to the stipulated 500metres. The current scenario where rural communities travel long distances (above 500 metres, in some areas upto 5km) is untenable to women, children and people with disabilities. Furthermore, people are exposed to a lot of vulnerabilities as they travel the 5km and these vulnerabilities include human-wildlife conflict, rape, criminal activities, bullying and all forms of gender based violence.
- Make all boreholes in rural, peri-urban and urban areas to be disability and children friendly either by lowering the arms or by powering them by solar or electricity. Current boreholes are not disability and children friendly as they have high level arms which are difficult to access by these sectors of the communities.
- Water provision and powers are devolved to local authorities to ensure improved water planning, accountability and answerability.
- There is unrestricted space for citizens and residents to nonviolently organize and demand the protection and promotion of water rights in their communities.
As MIHR we will continue to work with the communities in Zimbabwe and strengthen their capacities to nonviolently organize themselves and demand the protection and promotion of water rights.
MIHR is a nongovernmental organization that exists to enhance the protection and promotion of human rights and freedoms by all communities and people of Zimbabwe.
Statement issued by