Schools Champion Human Rights in Zimbabwe

The United Nations in collaboration with the Zimbabwe United Nations Association (ZUNA) and ZUNA affiliated schools celebrated International Human Rights Day on 4 December 2013 at Ellis Robin High School.

At the event, over 400 students from 17 high schools participated in promoting human rights through sport tournaments, debates, arts and entertainment as well as recitals of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

Speaking at the event, acting Resident Coordinator and UNICEF Representative, Mr. Reza Hossaini said, “Schools mould the present and future generation and it is in schools that lifetime world views and attitudes are shaped. Unless human rights are upheld and promoted in schools such as in Ellis Robins, they have little hope of being applied in society.”

In his key note address, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Emmerson Mnagagwa said, “The Government of Zimbabwe has put in place measures for the sustainable protection of human rights…the new constitution has widened the scope of the fundamental rights in order to provide greater human rights protection”. The Minister also noted that amendments to existing statutes were underway to bring the existing laws in line with the provision of the new constitution.

The recently published National Baseline Survey on Life Experience of Adolescents shows that approximately one in three girls and one in ten boys aged between 18-24 year have experienced sexual abuse in childhood. The 2011 Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey also show that 1 in 4 women reported that they had experienced sexual violence.

To address these human rights abuses, the Government has enacted the Gender-Based Violence Act and adopted a national strategy to end violence against women and girls. If implemented fully, these national instruments will ensure the respect, protection, and fulfilment of the rights of women and girls.

The International Human Rights Day, which falls on 10 December each year, is an occasion to celebrate the common value of human dignity for every person, of every culture and every belief, everywhere.

Read Statement by the acting UN Resident Coordinator & UNICEF Representative

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

Read more on UN in Zimbabwe engagement on Human Rights