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Human rights commission paralysed

by Staff reporter
30 May 2020 at 09:13hrs | Views
FOUR Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) commissioners have retired with immediate effect leaving the commission without a quorum to execute its mandate.

Dr Ellen Sithole, Dr Joseph Kurebwa, Mr Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube and Ms Kwanele Jirira retired from the human rights watchdog on May 7.

Prior to their retirement, the commission had already lost Comm Carrol Khombe who resigned in 2018 and was not replaced. In a statement Thursday, ZHRC chairperson Dr Elasto Mugwadi said the commission is now left with four out of nine commissioners, who no longer constitute a quorum to execute their mandate.

"The remaining four commissioners do not constitute a quorum, which is supposed to be five. This means that as of now the ZHRC cannot hold commission meetings for purposes of making policy resolutions or adoption of monitoring and investigation reports. This handicap prevents dissemination of 'unadopted' commission reports which are being produced for activities that are currently taking place," Dr Mugwadi.

"The reports which are being produced now are filed off record and will only be adopted by the commission after new commissioners have been appointed. In the meantime, the commission can only share statements which provide highlights of the activities being carried out."

He said the process to recruit new commissioners is underway but it is being affected by the national lockdown.

"Parliament advertised the positions but interviews have not yet been conducted due to disruption of Parliament business by the national lockdown. With the resumption of operations by Parliament, it is our hope that new commissioners will be appointed without delay," he said.

The commission is mandated to promote awareness and respect of human rights and freedoms; conduct research on issues relating to human rights and social justice, receive complaints from people on human rights abuses and take appropriate action, protect people against abuse of power and maladministration by the State, public institutions as well as officials of those institutions, investigate the conduct of any authority or person suspected of violating human rights among other issues.

Last year, the commission instituted a national inquiry into challenges faced by citizens in accessing national documents such as passports and birth certificates.

Source - chronicle