Visit By The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) To The Commission On Human Rights And Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) GHANA
Ghana’s Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice in July and August 2018 hosted two separate delegations from the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission on learning visits to Accra.
The delegations were expected to acquire knowledge on best practices in relation to raising awareness and educating Zimbabweans on their fundamental human rights and freedoms, promoting and protecting the rights of all persons living in their country, and fishing out for information on human rights abuses as well as social injustices through research and making recommendations to the appropriate authorities for redress.
The visits also aimed at drawing from experiences of CHRAJ which earned it the accreditation ‘A’ Status and also exploring the approach and skills CHRAJ used in executing its threefold mandate (Human Rights, Administrative Justice, and Anti-Corruption).
The team which was led by the Deputy Executive Secretary in Charge of Administration at ZHRC, Mr. Hosiah Gadzai, in an exchange of pleasantries with Commission members of CHRAJ anticipated that CHRAJ as a better and well established National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) would provide a grounded learning exposure for staff from ZHRC which in many respects would be applicable to the local situation in Zimbabwe.
The Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr. Joseph Whittal, receiving the delegation stressed on the importance of best practices highlighted by the Paris Principles; a set of international standards which frame and guide the work of NHRIs, and relates to the status and functioning of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights, and also sets out the criteria that NHRIs requirements must meet. The Paris Principles was drafted at an international NHRIs workshop in Paris in 1991, and adopted unanimously by the United Nations Human Rights Commission by Resolution 1992/54 of 1992, and by the United Nations General Assembly in its Resolution 48/134 of 1993.
Commissioner Whittal briefed the delegation on the mandates of CHRAJ, its functions and activities, as well as the Commission’s challenges and achievements.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) is the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) for the Republic of Zimbabwe with a constitutional mandate to protect, promote and enforce human rights and freedoms at all levels of society. The ZHRC is established in terms of section 242 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and its functions are set out in section 243 of the Constitution and supported by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Act Chapter 10:30 (2/2012), which further outlines the operational powers and scope of the ZHRC’s mandate and functions. The ZHRC as an NHRI has a dual mandate which is to deal with human rights and to also deal with cases of abuse of power and maladministration by State institutions and State officials which it assumed from the former Office of the Public Protector (formerly known as the Office of the Ombudsman).
The ZHRC was created in February 2009 during the Inclusive Government era and the first Commissioners were appointed in March 2010. However, the Commission only became fully operational in June 2014 when the Secretariat came on board. The ZHRC has been fully operational for four (4) years and has made tremendous progress towards the realization of its mandate and operationalization.
The first delegation comprised staff from the Education, Promotion and Research Department, and the second from the Finance and Administration Department.
Key Departmental and Unit Heads of CHRAJ shared ideas, experiences and skills with the teams through presentations to make them better equipped to handle their mandate.