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Obligation not charity
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
December 12, 2006

On Sunday 10 December, the world commemorated International Human Rights Day under the theme, "fighting poverty as a matter of obligation and not charity". It is mandatory for every government to recognize and respect people’s rights. However, Zimbabwe has gained a reputation of State-orchestrated and organized human rights violations and a general disdain for the rule of law.

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international protocols on the promotion and protection of rights, Human Rights are rights everyone should enjoy by virtue of being human. Every person has a right to life, food, water, health care, shelter, equality, human dignity, housing, education, freedom of expression, assembly and association regardless of their sex, religion, creed or color.

The Zimbabwean authorities view fighting poverty as a work of charity rather than an obligation. Of late the government has been commending itself for building houses under the Operation Garikai –Hlalani Kuhle clearly forgetting that it is the one that displaced the people in the first place when it unleashed a reign of terror on its law abiding citizens on the 18th of May 2005.

The government of President Robert Mugabe has abandoned its domestic and international obligations to provide, promote and protect human rights as is clearly indicated by its continued attacks against human rights defenders, workers, students, women, children and the weak in our society. The 13th September 2006 incident where Wellington Chibebe the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions Secretary General and his colleagues were brutalized by state agents while in police custody indicates that the government has lost its constitutional, international and moral obligations to protect its citizens.

It is the view of the Coalition that the United Nations and the African Union should call upon the Zimbabwean government to abide by its obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights to which Zimbabwe among other international human rights protocols is a party.

Visit the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition fact sheet

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