May 28, 2022

Dutch Embassy partners HIFA to mark Human Rights Day

The Netherlands Embassy has partnered The Harare International Festival of the Arts to mark Human Rights Day through a unique five-day film and live music tour to five suburbs in Harare and Chitungwiza.

Human Rights Day is marked every year on December 10.

According to the office of the United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner, December 10 “commemorates the day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

Marked in various ways globally, the Day’s commemorations aim to draw attention to the standards towards conversation pertaining to the promotion of that humanity through human rights.

Speaking on Human Rights Day today in Harare, The Royal Netherlands Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Her Excellency Barbara van Hellemond, said many laws were still to be aligned with the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“The Constitution of Zimbabwe was made supreme law in 2013. Five years later, many laws are still not aligned to it. Progress has been made, but it is not enough and it’s not quickly enough.”

The Netherlands Embassy stands with the United Nations and other international development partners in urging the government to accelerate the process of aligning all laws, policies and legal instruments with the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” she said.

“Furthermore, we ask the government to uphold the Constitution and respect the rights, dignity and security of all Zimbabwean residents at all times. And to share findings of the Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence.”

In Zimbabwe, she said, Human Rights were protected in the Constitution which clearly states that every person has the right to life, equality, security and dignity.

“You have the right to express your view, to access information, to a free media, to own property, and to peacefully demonstrate and petition for change. You have a right to safe drinking water, to sufficient food, basic health care, to education, to a secret vote, and to justice,” she said.

Chapter 4 article 56 of the Constitution states, she quoted: “All persons are equal before the law and have the right to equal protection and benefit from the law.”

The Netherlands supports international human rights work around the globe as it believes and recognizes that “injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere” (Martin Luther King.)

This year, the Netherlands Embassy has teamed up with the Harare International Festival of the Arts to promote awareness of human rights through hosting Human Rights Week events in five suburbs of Harare and Chitungwiza.

There will be a screening of the film “A Goat for A Vote” at each site, a comedy about elections for a student representative in a school in Kenya.

Maria Wilson HIFA executive director, described the move as positive as it brings together the media, artists and the Embassy in promoting human rights issues.

“There is no better way to express humanity than through art. We need to understand that this humanity is something we’re all accountable for, and the Netherlands Embassy has been at the forefront of pushing human rights. It’s sad that what should be basically a humanity issue has to be made into a legal issue,” she said.

The weeklong events fall on the last day of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, a global campaign that the Netherlands Embassy supported in Zimbabwe.

Among many other year-long efforts, the Embassy also champions gender equality and the drive against Gender-Based Violence as recently seen in the on-going 16 Days of Activism Against GBV.

NB: Photo Creds: Tnash Photography 2018

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