Matabeleland begins to expirience 2020 climate change impact

Nsezi River: Pic by concerned citizen

This is Nsezi River (between ESibomvu and Mbizingwe) in Matabeleland South province of Zimbabwe, normally it would be over- flowing in this time of the month but due to climate change effects its dry.
Climate change is real and here and it is causing massive human rights violations in our communities like right to water, right to food, right to employment, right to development, cultural rights, and rights of peasant farmers and ultimately right to life.
We may not be able to stop it but we can mitigate it and can massively document the impacts of climate change to the rights of our people.

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Bulawayo Youths Stand Up for Rights of the Elderly

Xolile Nyathi of Friends of Elitah

Youths in Bulawayo, on 02 January 2020 organized an event to recognise the rights of the elderly at Bulawayo’s Entembeni Old People’s Home honouring the elderly with blankets, clothes, foodstuffs and toiletries.

The function was organized by Friends of Elitah and Raising 1000000 Champions with Activist and Community Influencer Khumbulani Maphosa being the Guest of Honor in the event.

The day long event was also attended by youths from various locations of the City who presented clothing and cooked for the elderly and further sought to get the wisdom of the elderly on various subjects like growing up, dating and other pertinent youth issues.

Mlamuli Nyathi of Raising 1000000 Champions

Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights enhances the promotion, protection and fulfillment of human rights in the Matabeleland region of Zimbabwe and with specific emphasis for vulnerable and marginalized community groups. In the year 2020 the organization is mainly focusing on enhancing youth active participation in human rights promotion, protection and fulfilment in-line with the UN Human Rights Theme: Youth Stand Up for Human Rights. The organization shall also be supporting youths from Matabeleland to stand up for their rights and the rights of members of their community. The organization is further supporting the Campaign by Khumbulani Maphosa for the rights of the elderly in Zimbabwe on #GugawithRights

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MIHR INFLUENCES NATIONAL POLICY ON SEXUAL REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS

On the 23rd of October 2019, Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) attended a Parliament of Zimbabwe 2020 Budget Consultation convened jointly by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development and Thematic Committee on SDGs on the 2020 Zimbabwe National Budget on SDGs.

In the meeting, MIHR submitted a written submission where several recommendations were made on the SDGs being prioritized by Zimbabwe. Among other recommendations, MIHR recommended on SDG 4 on Target: By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations.

Part of the MIHR recommendations was that government “Avail funding for free access to sanitary pads by children in school”

MIHR is pleased that the government of Zimbabwe took these recommendations seriously because on the 14th of November 2019 when Zimbabwe Minister of Finance and Economic Development announced the 2020 National Budget Statement, he announced that the government has availed ZWL$200 million towards provision of free sanitary pads for rural primary and secondary students from Grade 4 to Upper 6.

MIHR acknowledges that there are other stakeholders that could have contributed to this success story but the organization has visible contribution on the mentioned issue.

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"With renewed determination, we all need to stand up for human rights" UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Raising our voices is essential to the creation of a future of peace, justice and sustainable development. And this has been a year of tremendous activism – notably by young people.

In every region, people are working for hope.

From the accelerating climate crisis to the fight against inequality and repressive institutions.

From the right to make informed decisions about our own bodies to the right to participate in defining policies for our countries.

I am inspired by the courage, clarity and principle of the women, men and young people who are rising up peacefully, to create greater freedom and justice.

Their voices are the living expression of human rights – a movement that is fundamentally about building dignity and equality for everyone.

Policy-makers everywhere need to listen to these calls. And in response, they need to shape more effective, more principled policies.

We have a right to live free from discrimination on any grounds. We have a right to access education, health-care, economic opportunities and a decent standard of living.

This is about our future, our livelihoods, our freedoms, our security and our environment.

We need to mobilise across the world–peacefully and powerfully – to advance a world of rights, dignity and choice for everyone.

With renewed determination, we all need to stand up for human rights.

(Message by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the 2019 International Human Rights Day)

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2019 Human Rights Day Message from the UN Secretary-General

UN Secretary General António Guterres

This year, on Human Rights Day, we celebrate the role of young people in bringing human rights to life.

Globally, young people are marching, organizing, and speaking out:

For the right to a healthy environment…
For the equal rights of women and girls…
To participate in decision-making…
And to express their opinions freely…

They are marching for their right to a future of peace, justice and equal opportunities.

Every single person is entitled to all rights: civil, political, economic, social and cultural. Regardless of where they live. Regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, social origin, gender, sexual orientation, political or other opinion, disability or income, or any other status.

On this International Day, I call on everyone to support and protect young people who are standing up for human rights.

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“We can’t guarantee deploying nurses speaking local languages”: Zimbabwe Government

The Government of Zimbabwe has poured cold water in prospects of fully implementing the Constitutional provisions on linguistic rights (Section 6) as well as detects of international provisions such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.

This comes out as the Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs (Hon. Ziyambi) was responding on behalf of the Minister of Health and Child Care in Parliament on the 28th of August 2019. The question was asked by Hon. G. Dube who had asked the Minister of Health and Child Care “to inform the House what Government policy is regarding the deployment of nurses who are not conversant with local languages, particularly in the Matabeleland North Province”.

In his response Hon Ziyambi ruled out any immediate possibility of deploying nurses who speak in local languages arguing that “there is a procedure which is followed on deployment of nurses. The student nurses upon completion of training are required to complete deployment forms. The student nurse is supposed to indicate one urban health institution and two rural provinces where he or she wishes to work.

The Ministry will in the future take into consideration the issue of language before deployment. However, there is no guarantee that we can completely second candidates who are fluent in the local language.”

Section 6(3)(b) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe detects that “the State and all institutions and agencies of government at every level must take into account the language preferences of people affected by the governmental measures or communications”. However, the response of Minister Ziyambi shows that the State is taking into account the deployment preference of the student nurse above the community being served.

As MIHR we wish to remind the government that is duty bound by Section 6(3); Section 44; and Section 194(1) to respect the rights of the people. The deployment of nurses who speak the local language will also be a step towards the realization of the right to health as enunciated in Section 76(4) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Furthermore, Article 2(2) of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities stipulates that Persons belonging to minorities have the right to participate effectively in cultural, religious, social, economic and public life.” Realizing that Matabeleland North province is home to over 6 ethnic and religious minorities – the failure by the state to deploy nurses who speak the different local languages is a denial of the minorities to participate effective in social and public life.

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Ndebeles are foreigners, refugees and migrants – Zim minister

Deputy Information Minister Energy Mutodi

The Zimbabwe Deputy Minister of Informatio, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Mr Energy Mutodi has labelled minority Ndebele people who occupy the western side of Zimbabwe as migrants and refugees in the country.

On the 3rd of September 2019 Mutodi posted a video on the xenophobic attacks currently happening in South Africa. In his video he says:

“For South Africa, you will find that here in Zimbabwe, if you didn’t know, just about 1836 we accommodated thousands of South Africans who came into Zimbabwe fleeing from (King) Shaka, and they were being led by Mzilikazi. They settled on the western parts of the country, in Matabeleland. As I am speaking right now, at least three million Zimbabweans have South African origin.”

Mutodi’s sentiments are incorrect and misguided in a number of ways:

  1. Firstly, Zimbabwe never accommodated thousands of South Africans in 1836 because in 1836 there was never a Zimbabwe and never a South Africa. Whilst it is true that the people of Matabeleland left present day South Africa in 1836 being led by Mzilikazi and fleeing Tshaka, it is historically and factually incorrect to say they left South Africa and were accommodated by Zimbabwe because there were no national borders and boundaries. Boarders came in as a result of the partitioning of Africa which began around 1884/5.
  2. Secondly, Ndebeles were not accommodated in the western area of Zimbabwe. They inhabited the area because there was no government to accommodate them.

The statements by Mutodi confirm the arguments by people of Matabeleland that they are systematically marginalized and treated as second class citizens in Zimbabwe.

Members of Parliament raised the issue in Parliament on the 4th of September where the Minister of Information downplayed it. Some senior ZANUPF people from Matabeleland have also complained but there is still no drastic action by the Zimbabwean government to discipline Mutodi over the statements.

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