THREE commissions have signed a joint investigations collaboration agreement, which seeks to ensure effective complaints handling mechanism and proper remedies to human rights violations.
The three State institutions comprising of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission(ZHRC), National Peace and Reconciliation Commission(NPRC) and the Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) yesterday signed the landmark agreement at a ceremony in the capital.
ZHRC was represented by its chairman Mr Elasto Mugwadi, NRPC was represented by Ms Margaret Sangarwe while Reverend Masunungure stood in for NRPC chairman Retired Justice Selo Nare.
The signing ceremony of the Chapter 12 Commissions Joint-Investigations Collaboration Agreement preceded the development of a collaborative framework adopted by the three commissions at the Kadoma meeting last July.
The commissions share common objectives under Section 233 of the Constitution that include supporting and entrenching human rights and democracy.
Speaking during the ceremony, Mr Mugwadi said the Chapter 12 Commissions were already collaborating at policy level through the chairpersons’ forum set up in 2012.
In this regard, he said, this operational collaborative effort was, therefore, plucking a leaf from the existing policy collaborative efforts.
“Among other things, the joint collaboration agreement seeks to build water-tight referral and case tracking system, which ensures that complaints are not lost in the referral pathway and also guarantee complainants easy access to holistic justice and appropriate remedies,” said Mr Mugwadi.
Mrs Sangarwe said it was important for the three commissions to work together for them to be effective.
“Since we started this forum we have not been able to formalise it in terms of our collaboration although we did so in other ways,” said Ms Sangarwe.
“It is a milestone and am excited that at least we have come up with something tangible in terms collaborations, seven days before the end of our term.”
Reverend Masunungure described the development as a good step towards the actualization of the collaboration among the three commissions.
“It is a significant milestone on the collaboration given the fact that for years the three commissions had been directing their focus and expertise on the various mandates as defined in the Constitution,” he said.
“I have no doubt that the three commissions’ partnership will strengthen their dedication for their provinces and expand their ability to offer unique service to the people in line with the dictates of the statutes and the supreme law of the country.”
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative, Mr Georges van Montfort, welcomed the landmark agreement adding that his organisation was a proud partner of the Chapter 12 Commissions.
He emphasized that they should be more awareness on the existence and functions of the commissions for the better of the country and people at large–as they represent people in enforcing democracy in the country.