Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Statement on International Human Rights Day Commemorations


"Everyone has a right to peaceful coexistence, the basic educational freedoms, the alleviation of suffering, and the opportunity to lead a productive life..." Jimmy Carter

Statement on International Human Rights Day Commemorations

The Zimbabwe National Students Union joins the rest of the world in commemorating International Human Rights Day. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948 in Paris. The Declaration arose directly from the experience of the Second World War and represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled. As we honor this day, we note with great concern issues of gross human rights violations in Zimbabwe and the world over. ZINASU calls upon all member states to respect and protect human rights in their respective countries without any discrimination on the basis of race, tribe, nationality, gender amongst all other forms of discrimination.
The 2008 commemorations come against a background of sad reminiscences of gross human rights violations in Zimbabwe such as the violence prior to the June 27 Presidential runoff in Zimbabwe, the arrests and persecution of students protesting at Parliament over delayments in opening of tertiary institutions. ZINASU condemns these and other acts of human rights violations in the country especially the recent abduction of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, Jestina Mukoko who was abducted from her home on the 3rd of December 2008 by 15 armed men who identified themselves as policemen. The Union demands the immediate release of these human rights defender.
In 2008, at least 350 human rights violations were recorded within the student population and over 15 students were suspended from tertiary institutions. Five members of the ZINASU National Executive Council are on suspension for frivolous charges by various institutions of learning. Students fought as their right to education went down the drain. The state responded in usual heavy handedness, beating and arresting students wantonly. It is estimated that at least 20 000 students have dropped from tertiary institutions as a result of the state of the economic situation. ZINASU has called on the government to declare 2008 a non- academic year.
As we commemorate this day, it is also imperative to document the outbreak of cholera in Zimbabwe as a serious human rights violation by the system which has failed dismally to run the health sector leading to the loss of unnecessary lives. Over 600 people have died since the outbreak of the disease in Zimbabwe. The time has come for all political players in the country to come with meaningful solutions that would bring an end to the political impasse haunting the nation. Finally we dedicate this day to all the students who have either been arrested, tortured, assaulted, killed or maimed for fighting and defending academic freedoms in Zimbabwe, We salute you for the tireless efforts,
Victory is Certain.

Defending Academic Freedoms in Zimbabwe

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