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letter to the principals in the GNU
and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ)
& Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
March 31, 2010
We the undersigned individuals
and organisations committed to the development of a positive rights
discourse in Zimbabwe, are very concerned at recent statements made
as part of International Women's Day celebrations in Chitungwiza,
where the theme was "Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress
The statements, which
make reference to attempts to include gay rights in the Constitution,
undermine public tolerance and acceptance of diversity. Issues of
sexuality impact on the dignity, privacy, identity and freedom of
people. We urge you not to undermine the dignity of these individuals
by making such homophobic statements.
We call on the principals
to desist from making statements likely to promote hate and prejudice.
Zimbabwe is going through a transition from a period characterised
by hate, violence and economic suffering and moving towards national
As Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai said in his weekly newsletter today:
There can be no place
in the new Zimbabwe for hate speech or the persecution of any sector
of our population based on race, gender, tribe, culture, sexual
orientation or political affiliation. All of us are entitled to
our own opinions on certain values and beliefs, but in order to
move our nation forward and achieve national reconciliation and
healing, we have to uphold and foster the fundamental principle
of tolerance, including tolerance of people that have chosen to
live, believe and vote differently from ourselves. For too long,
many of you, my fellow Zimbabweans, have not had the freedom of
choice. Our new constitution shall be the cornerstone of a new society
that embraces this particular freedom of choice and tolerance of
both majority and minority views.
We support a Constitution
that protects Zimbabweans against discrimination on the basis of
sexual orientation, just as it prevents discrimination on grounds
such as race, gender, ethnicity, or religion.
The immediate challenge
the nation is facing is overcoming social deprivations in areas
such as hunger, health, education, unemployment and violence against
women and children and above all the functionality of the GNU. These
are the areas in which the Principals in the GNU should be providing
leadership; rather than fostering antipathy and intolerance.
Visit the GALZ
Visit the Zimbabwe
Human Rights NGO Forum fact
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