One of the mandates of the Implementation Clinic at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is to engage with the national actors in African States towards the implementation of African human rights decisions. Having identified Zimbabwe as one of the focus countries for the year, the Centre in collaboration with some local partners in Zimbabwe are organising a national dialogue and capacity building workshop to enable the environment crucial to the implementation of human rights decisions. On 24 May 2018, the Centre hosted a planning meeting with representatives from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (ZHRF) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC).

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The meeting was attended by Ms Belinda Chinowawa (ZLHR), Ms Blessing Gorejena (ZHRF), Dr Makanatsa Makonese (ZHRC), Prof Frans Viljoen (Director, Centre for Human Rights), Ms Henrietta Ekefre (Implementation Clinic Coordinator), Mr Michael Nyarko (Litigation Coordinator, Centre for Human Rights), Mr Foluso Adegalu (LLD candidate, Centre for Human Rights), Ms Susan Mutambasere (LLM candidate, Centre for Human Rights), Mr Samuel Ndasi (LLM candidate, Centre for Human Rights) and Mr Jonathan Obwogi (LLM candidate, Centre for Human Rights).

Zimbabwe is a state party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Charter) but has not ratified the Protocol establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Also considering that the SADC Tribunal is now defunct the only decisions considered as part of this project are the decisions from the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission). These decisions are Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum v Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe v Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Lawyers for human Rights and Institute for Human Rights and Development (on behalf of Andrew Barclay Meldrum) v Zimbabwe, Scanlen and Holderness v Zimbabwe, Gabriel Shumba v Zimbabwe, Noah Kazingachire and Others v Zimbabwe.

The participants identified some of the factors that impede the implementation of African human rights decisions such as:

  • the presence of a repressive government,
  • lack of awareness by state actors of the decisions or measures to take,
  • absence of an effectiveness connection and relationship between the African regional system and state actors.

The participants agreed that there needs to be a better coordination mechanism to enable the implementation process of decisions at the national level and this is one of the objectives the national dialogue will strive to achieve. On the way forward, the participants agreed that a hybrid approach which combines a national dialogue with a capacity building workshop should be organised in Zimbabwe with all the major actors.

A three staged approach to the execution of the project was also agreed on: first, a build-up process to the national dialogue will be embarked on, which includes engagement with technical staff within government institutions, civil society and the ZHRC; second, this build up engagement would then inform the agenda for the national dialogue and workshop later in the year; and third, the national dialogue and capacity building workshop will inform the next plan of action.

For more information, please contact:

Henrietta Ekefre
Research Associate / Implementation Clinic Coordinator
Tel: +27(0) 12 420 5408



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