Zimbabwe joined other nations Monday in marking International Human Rights Day with government saying targeted sanctions are hindering its efforts to address all human rights issues in the country.
Justice and Legal Affairs permanent secretary, David Mangota, told a gathering in the capital city marking the day that Zimbabwe had made strides in addressing women and children’s rights but noted that it is lagging behind in enhancing economic rights because of sanctions.
Mangota said Zimbabwe is committed to upholding the rights of citizens as it has agreed to have its human rights record reviewed by the United Nations General Assembly, and Human Rights Commissioner, Navy Pillay, who assessed the human rights situation in the country this year.
Civil society organizations, on the other hand, urged the government to stop human rights violations such as the arrest of striking workers and human rights defenders.
Chiefs Council president, Fortune Charumbira, said while there has been too much emphasis on civil and political rights, programs such as the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act are required to ensure full enjoyment of economic rights.
United Nations resident co-ordinator, Alain Noudehou, said Zimbabwe has ratified a number of human rights treaties, adding that their full implementation will result in the protection and promotion of human rights.
The event marked the first time in many years that government joined hands with civil society to commemorate the day.
Meanwhile, police in Bulawayo briefly detained two officials of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) who were leading a march by workers commemorating human rights day.
The two, Percy Mcijo and Ambrose Sibindi, were taken in by officers who intercepted the protest, suspecting that it was illegal.
But upon ascertaining that ZCTU had been cleared for the demonstration, police released them and allowed the march to continue.
Mcijo said the move was brazen as civil society was marching to bring awareness to the human rights issues faced by residents in Bulawayo and areas across Zimbabwe.