Local civic society organisations under the auspices of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) have called on Southern Africa Development Committee (SADC) members to commit themselves to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In a statement to mark the International Human Rights Day, CiZC said the COVID-19 pandemic had provided repressive governments to shrink the political and civic space in South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
“The Covid-19 pandemic provided an opportunity to autocratic governments to shrink political and civic space in the above-mentioned countries mainly due to rights violations under the of enforcing Covid-19 regulations. As the world commemorates International Human Rights Day, the Crisis Coalition would like to call for total commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
“More importantly, we reiterate that “basic human rights and fundamental freedoms are inherent to all human beings, inalienable and equally applicable to everyone and that every one of us is born free and equal in dignity and rights,” said the Coalition
The coalition added “We further call for adherence to the core principles of human rights as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and these include universality, interdependence and indivisibility, equality and non-discrimination.”
CiCZ called for the renewal of social contracts between governments and citizens as part of recovery efforts from the pandemic.
“Post the Covid-19 pandemic, there is an imperative need for new social contracts between governments and citizens while political, economic, social and cultural rights need to be put at the centre of recovery efforts.
“We therefore call upon the SADC bloc to collectively mobilise resources to cushion vulnerable groups through provision of food, healthcare, education including other basic needs. We implore SADC to work with other partners and draw up a clear roadmap to recovery post Covid-19 and this roadmap should put human rights at the centre of recovery efforts,” said CiCZ.