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Zimbabwe Urged to Prevent Human Rights Abuses as World Marks Truth Day

Supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change have over the years been attacked by suspected Zanu PF members for opposing the ruling party. (File photo).

Zimbabwe on Tuesday joined the world in marking the International Day of Truth with calls for government to operationalize the Human Rights and National Peace and Reconciliation commissions which civil group leaders say will go a long way in helping Zimbabwe address human rights issues in the country.

The United Nations designated March 24th the International Day for the Right to the Truth to honor victims of gross and systematic rights violations and promote the importance of the right to truth and justice.

Executive Director Abel Chikomo of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, speaking in Chinhoyi at an event to mark the day, said it was important for Zimbabwe, with its history of rights abuses to the commemorate day and take steps to prevent further abuses.

He said it is great that the new constitution provides a provision for the establishment of commissions that will help seek truth relating to some dark episodes of the country’s history.

Chikomo said the government should speed up the operationalisation of the commissions in line with the new constitution and people's expectations.

But journalist-turned-politician, Denis Kagonye, said that people may never know the truth about what happened in past atrocities in the country or what is happening now, saying the truth has been the biggest casualty of conflict in the country.

Kagonye argued that the commissions are a waste of money as they are meant to provide jobs for those connected to the authorities.

International Day of Truth was proclaimed on 21 December 21st, 2010, by the United Nations in honor of the slain El Salvador's Archibishop Oscar Romero who was assassinated while defending human rights in March 1980.

The day was also set aside to pay tribute to people around the world who have devoted their lives to, and lost their lives in, the struggle to promote and protect human rights for all.