ZLHR Statement on International Human Rights Day

ZLHR Statement on International Human Rights Day


ON International Human Rights Day, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) reaffirms its commitment to the fundamental principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and urges government to uphold, respect, promote and protect the equal and inalienable rights of all people.


Proclaimed on 10 December 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly, the UDHR is one of the world’s most ground breaking global pledges, which enshrines the inalienable rights that every person is entitled to as a human being regardless of race, colour, sex, religion, language, political or other opinion or birth or other status.


ZLHR celebrates the UDHR, which is a landmark document in the history of human rights, which sets out fundamental human rights principles that are to be universally protected.


The UDHR sets a common standard of achievements that all nations and their peoples should seek to achieve in the protection of human rights.


The 2023 theme for International Day of Human Rights, which is Freedom, Equality and Justice for All, resonates with the core principles of the UDHR and these three principles are at the heart of what it means to be human.


Major challenges remain and have emerged as the world faces a torrent of tests, which include rising conflict, war, rising inequalities, climate change and outbreaks of pandemics among other problems.

This should compel global stakeholders to unite and solve challenges through enhanced international cooperation.

The world needs to deliver on promises to future generations and to secure a world where everyone can thrive in peace, equality and in dignity.

In Zimbabwe, the promise of the UDHR, of dignity and equality in rights, is under a sustained assault. Human rights violations by key state actors and non-state actors remains a cause for concern.

Even in a year in which the world is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the UDHR, human rights defenders in Zimbabwe continue to be subjected to unprecedented violations including abductions, enforced disappearances, torture, arrests, detentions, prosecution and all sorts of persecution, internal displacement and enactment of repressive laws.

Democratic recession is manifesting itself in vote disenfranchisement, voter suppression and illegal recalls done through abuse of parliamentary legal processes and privileges and staging sham elections, which fall short of regional and international standards.

ZLHR is dismayed that all these shenanigans are a stark violation of the Constitution which unambiguously protects against such excesses including guaranteeing political participation and taking part in the country’s affairs directly or through freely chosen representatives, which is the basis of democracy.

To live a life full of dignity, freedom and justice, ZLHR implores government to;

  • Protect, promote and uphold human rights guaranteed in the UDHR and other legal instruments including the Constitution;
  • Stop curtailment and the assault of citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms;
  • End the pervasive practice of enforced disappearances and torture;
  • Domesticate the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, which provides clear standards for democracy, respect for human rights, and the holding of free and fair elections;
  • Uphold democracy, the rule of law and protect human rights by ceasing all actions that undermine citizens’ fundamental rights;


Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
Kodzero/Amalungelo House
No. 103 Sam Nujoma Street, Harare, Zimbabwe
Phone: (+263 8677005347, +263 242 764085/705370/708118
Email: info@zlhr.org