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Solidarity statement for ZIYON's ''Know your rights campaign''
Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR)
November 11, 2010

"Human rights are not gifts given at the pleasure of governments, nor should governments withhold them or apply them to some people but not to others. Governments must be held accountable for promoting and protecting the human rights of all persons''

62 years after the universally acceptable definition of the human rights standards and norms to govern humanity were adopted by the UN General assembly in December 1948, these rights have remained either contested or elusive in our context as Zimbabwe and the African continent as a whole. The UDHR is a non negotiable obligation for all the UN member states as to safeguard the essence of the human rights principle that ''every individual regardless of age, birth, color, creed, disability, ethnic origin, familial status, gender, language, mental status, political or other opinion, public assistance, race religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation, deserves to be honored, esteemed and respected.

The hallmark principle of human rights is that they are inalienable, indivisible and interdependent; no right is of greater significance than the other as some have argued that land is the most basic and important right in our context.

As succinctly put by the former president of Ghana John Agyekum Kufuor, Africa needs a new breed of leaders who will defy the precedence of being remembered by history for their notoriety, disregard for human rights, good governance but rather want to be part of the forward match towards the establishment of a better life for their people by using the expertise gained over the years for the good of their people.

Ladies and gentlemen, today we are under a historical dawn of a coalition government brought about by the need to transform from a dark past legacy of violence-sponsored and organized, rampant abuse of rights of innocent men, women and children into a society that upholds the rule of law, equality of all, observance of human rights and broadly the existence of sustainable peace. Cognizant of the fact that there has been relative progress towards efforts to maintain peace, it is still regrettable that the coalition government has de-prioritized critical issues of justice, reforming of the state arms and government systems, structures to ensure the observance of human rights and existence of sustainable peace.

There is still a long way to go in addressing the apparent loop holes at the government level on policy and implementation stage to assume a cross cutting standard of respecting, building a culture and management style that upholds human rights and human dignity. To mention but a few, ladies and gentlemen, the right to vote freely, elect leaders of choice and participate in political processes remains a pipeline dream, oppression remains a systematic weapon by certain political parties to deny social and economic liberties, freedom of expressions and association is yet to be achieved, media waves remain closed, heavily politicized to maintain a stranglehold on power against the people's wishes, there is no equitable distribution of state resources, brutality by security forces continues unabated, selective application of the law is still rampant, culture of impunity surges on, while undermining of the rule of law has been institutionalized.

Noting the inadequacy of our current situation in achieving the desired standards and norms of an ideal society, ROHR Zimbabwe pledges its support to seeing a peaceful, just and free nation that is conscious of and respects human rights. We are honored to be part of significant priorities for the betterment of humanity such as the one which has gathered us today through the noble efforts and visionary leadership by one of the leading youth coalition organizations in Zimbabwe ZIYON.

We support their timely effort during this critical defining moment of transformation to ignite a revolution to raise awareness, conscientise and educate the youths about human rights and to popularize the need for a human rights culture at all times starting with this generation and the ones to come.We applaud the maiden resolve in our history by ZIYON to set aside 30 days of countdown to popularize each of the 30 basic human rights defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) starting with today until 10 December when the entire world comes together to celebrate the International human rights day.

We would like to partner with the youths in securing the future and laying the right seeds by taking charge of it today.

Visit the ROHR fact sheet

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