Human Rights Commission crippled - Human Rights Lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa says

The recently formed Human Rights Commission (HRC) cannot deal with human rights violations in the country because it is not well resourced, Award winning human rights Lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa has said.

Beatrice Mtetwa, who has won many accolades as a human rights Lawyer, said that human rights violations continue to happen in the country, but the Human Rights Commission (HRC) formed by the Inclusive Government on 31 March 2010 is failing to act because it is "not well oiled €.

"It's a disgrace that we have a human rights commission which is not resourced. As human rights violations continue to happen, the Human Rights Commission cannot act. One wonders what the purpose of its formation was.   Was it to hoodwink Zimbabweans? € lamented Mtetwa.

Mtetwa was speaking on the sidelines of an International Human Rights Day commemorative march organized by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) in Harare on Thursday, December 6 2012.

Mtetwa also wondered why there was not enough vigilance on the issue of human rights violations by the MDC formations led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Professor Welshman Ncube when most of the victims were their own party members and activists.

"The MDCs in particular have been mute in defending human rights, including   instances where their activists are the victims, € said Mtetwa, who has represented a number of MDC activists in high profile court cases over the years, including the Glenview 29 who are on trial for having allegedly murdered a police Officer, Inspector Mutedza in May last year.

Reading part of the ZLHR Petition to the marchers and passers -by  in Causeway Street in front of the New Government Complex, which houses the offices of the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Hon. Patrick Chinamasa, ZLHR Deputy chairperson, Precious Chakasikwa, called for an end to all forms  of harassment of legal practitioners, "as a matter of extreme urgency. €

"ZHLR further issues an urgent call for an immediate cessation by members of the police, armed forces, prisons, central intelligence, and/or other individuals acting on their behalf or with their knowledge or acquiescence, of on-going acts and/or plans to commit acts of intimidation, threats, attacks, abductions (enforced disappearance) and/or extrajudicial execution of members of the legal profession, their families, or work colleagues which have an adverse impact on efficient and effective administration of justice, € read Chakasikwa.

The petition also explained that the victimization of human rights lawyers to a large extent compromised the ability of incarcerated human rights defenders, or accused persons, to have fair trial. The petition also said this brought the justice system into disrepute, leading to Zimbabweans losing confidence in the justice system.

The International Human Rights Day is commemorated annually across the world on December 10. The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) held a march to commemorate the Day under the theme, "Inclusion and the Right to Participate in Public Life €. The commemoration was attended by Human Rights Lawyers, Civil Society leaders, human rights activists and members of the public.

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