Human Rights Day: MDGs as Basic Human Rights must be Achieved Comprehensively

Zimbabwe commemorated Human Rights Day on 17 December 2013 in Harare. The event, organized by the newly established Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission with the support from the United Nations and the European Union, was held under a localized theme, “Protect and Promote Human Rights in Zimbabwe”.

At the event, Prof. Luc Rukingama, Regional Director and Representative of UNESCO said, “The establishment of independent commissions under the new Constitution, including the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, is a major victory for the promotion and protection of human rights in Zimbabwe.”

Noting that one of the major global achievements in advancing human rights is the agenda articulated under the Millennium Development Goals by all UN member states, including Zimbabwe, Prof. Rukingama noted, “The MDGs, aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty, embody basic human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and they must be achieved comprehensively.”

The United Nations believes that to realize the freedom, equality, dignity and rights for all is a task that needs the engagement of all stakeholders. In his message on Human Rights Day, the UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon said “Promoting human rights is one of the core purposes of the United Nations, and the Organization has pursued this mission since its founding.”

At the occasion, Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Fortune Chasi said “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights…and this are not conferred by Government but are the birthright of all people.”  Underscoring that Zimbabwe is party to many major human rights instruments at both regional and international levels, the Deputy Minister noted, “The new Constitution [of Zimbabwe] has widened the scope of fundamental rights proving its commitment to promoting the rights of all human beings.”

Noting that human rights and rule of law constitute core principle of the European Union, Ambassador Aldo Dell'Ariccia, Head of European Union Delegation to Zimbabwe urged the Government to ratify pending international conventions and treats related to optional protocol against torture, and death penalties. He recognized the Government’s effort in protecting the rights of women and girls by putting preventive mechanisms such as the Gender Act and gender mainstreaming national development programmes articulated in the 2013-2018 Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation.

Over 300 people representing Government, United Nations, Diplomatic Corps, Civil Society Organizations, the media and different human rights organizations participated at the event. The event was captioned with march-past, songs, skits, dramas and poems highlight different human rights messages.

Read the Statement by the UNESCO Regional Director and Representative

Read the Statement by the Honourable Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs