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constitution the answer, say lawyers
The Zimbabwe Independent
March 31, 2006
Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has said Zimbabwe needs a new
home-grown constitution and not piecemeal amendments to the supreme
In a hard-hitting
statement, ZLHR accused the state of "mutilating the bill of rights"
through frequent amendments.
to the Constitution of Zimbabwe to establish the Zimbabwe Human
Rights Commission adds to the numerous constitutional amendments
which have created a mutilated bill of rights and a proverbial constitution
which does not espouse the principles of constitutionalism," it
Constitutional Assembly, which for the past seven years has
been fighting for a new constitution, also joined in, accusing government
of tinkering with the constitution to establish a Zimbabwe Human
"The NCA rejects
a partisan rights commission designed merely to serve as an additional
bureaucratic ruling to prevent and delay Zimbabweans from mounting
human rights complaints in the international arena which offers
their only hope," the NCA said in a statement. "The NCA fears that
such an amendment will also serve as a vehicle for more sinister
amendments designed to keep the government's grip on power."
ZLHR said government
should refrain from manipulating and implementing piecemeal amendments
which negate the need for broad-based and inclusive consultation
with all stakeholders.
a human rights commission in the prevailing legislative and administrative
operating environment without corresponding and simultaneous changes
to the current repressive laws is tantamount to deception and attempts
to create illusory remedial institutions," the lawyers said. "Such
a process will compound the human rights situation in the country.
The commission will be a white elephant if institutions, laws and
state- sponsored practices are not revisited."
ZLHR said Zimbabwe
should do away with laws which restrict the fundamental rights of
assembly, association, expression and movement before establishing
a human rights commission. These include the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Broadcasting
Services Act and the Public
Order and Security Act. - Staff Writer.
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