Zimbabwe has voluntarily placed itself on the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of human rights.
By adhering to United Nations principles on human rights, the country has exposed the European Union and the United States, which have used the human rights abuse mantra to justify sanctions imposed on the country.
Last week, United Nations Development Population (UNDP) Assistant Resident Representative in charge of Governance and Gender Mainstreaming Mr Mfaro Moyo told The Sunday Mail that Zimbabwe had adhered to the best human rights practices.
“Zimbabwe accepted to be reviewed under the UPR because it is a member state of the United Nations and is party to the United Nations Charter under which the UPR mechanism is created,” he said.
“The significance of this move is that it provides an opportunity for Zimbabwe to update its peers on the achievements attained in implementing human rights (polices), the challenges it faces and seeking opportunities for assistance from its peers and the international community in promoting human rights.”
The UNDP official said Zimbabwe had finalised its report, which is set to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in September.
“At mid-point of the UPR cycle, countries are expected to submit a midterm report, detailing progress made so far in implementing the recommendations accepted during the peer review process. Zimbabwe has just finalized preparing its mid-term report, which is due to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2014,” said Mr Moyo.
Zimbabwe’s report was done through consultations between Government and other non-state actors.
The UNDP said the wide consultations were a sign that the country was committed to upholding human rights.
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Deputy Minister Fortune Chasi said Government will approve the UPR report before it is presented to the UN Human Rights Council in September.
“The UPR process is very significant because it shows that there is a continued improvement of all human rights issues in the country. The fact that we adopted the report with input from Government shows that there is consensus between the Government and non-state actors. What is now left is for the Government to approve the report before it is submitted to the UN council,” he said.
The UPR process involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States.
It provides an opportunity for all States to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to overcome challenges to the enjoyment of human rights.
The Zimbabwean Government has been actively working to promote human rights in the country through various interventions. Among these mechanisms is the new Constitution which guarantees civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
Moves are already being made to align the relevant legislation with the Supreme law.
In addition, Zimbabwe ratified the Convention on the Rights of Peoples with Disabilities and also enacted a Disabled Persons law to provide for the welfare and rehabilitation of the disabled.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission was also appointed.
UPR Member States review each other’s progress after every four and half years.
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