Heal Zimbabwe urges govt to prioritise youth economic, political rights

By Nkosana Dlamini

Heal Zimbabwe Trust has called on government to create conditions that are conducive for Zimbabwean youths to fully enjoy their economic and political rights.

In a statement to mark International Youth Day Thursday, Heal Zimbabwe Trust decried the continued use of youths by “political entrepreneurs” to further their political ambitions.

The peace-based NGO also said Zimbabwean youths have borne the brunt of a collapsing economy with many consigned to years of penury.

“Section 20 of the Constitution states that, ‘the State should ensure that youths are afforded opportunities for employment and other avenues of economic empowerment’.

“The same section of the Constitution also compels the state to also ensure that youths are protected from all forms of abuse.

“Given past violent electoral periods such as 2008, where there was total economic collapse and high levels of unemployment, it is not debatable that most youths who were abused by political entrepreneurs to perpetrate violence were unemployed.”

Heal Zimbabwe Trust also reminded Zimbabwean authorities about the existence of article 14 of the African Youth Charter that obligates Zimbabwe and its African Union peers to eradicate poverty and ensure socio-economic integration of youths.

The group said past killings on youths and other forms of abuse by the government did not bring any confidence Zimbabwean authorities were ready to place youth issues at the forefront.

Said Heal Zimbabwe Trust, “The August 2018 and January 2019 extra judicial killings of mostly youths have cast doubt on governments’ sincerity to peacefully address or prioritize youth issues without resorting to violence and brute force.”

Heal Zimbabwe Trust regretted that the Covid-19 pandemic has added to the myriad social and economic challenges burdening the Zimbabwean youths, chief among them, unemployment.

“The high rates of unemployment have been exacerbated by economic collapse and Covid-19 induced lockdowns that have crippled the economic function of the majority of youths,” said the NGO.

Heal Zimbabwe Trust called on authorities to invent solutions to the plight of Zimbabweans youths, adding, “On the occasion of this year’s Youth Day commemorations, Heal Zimbabwe implores the government to uphold and promote a culture where youths enjoy their human rights.

“Added to this, government must put in place measures and policies that ensure that concerns of youths are protected and addressed especially during this Covid-19 period.”

FULL STATEMENT BY HEAL ZIMBABE TRUST

Heal Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating International Youth day today. The theme for this year, “Transforming Food System: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health” underscores the need for meaningful participation of young people.

The commemorations for this year help to evaluate how governments and other key stakeholders such as civic organizations are utilizing education to make strides towards the attainment of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a United Nations Agenda that envisages ending poverty in all its forms, respect for human rights, human dignity, and the rule of law, justice, equality and non-discrimination. For Zimbabwe, This year’s commemorations are taking place against a background where there is rapid unemployment among the youths in Zimbabwe. The high rates of unemployment have been exacerbated by economic collapse and Covid-19 induced lockdowns that have crippled the economic function of the majority of youths.

Section 20 of the Constitution states that, “the State should ensure that youths are afforded opportunities for employment and other avenues of economic empowerment”. The same section of the Constitution also compels the state to also ensure that youths are protected from all forms of abuse. Given past violent electoral periods such as 2008, where there was total economic collapse and high levels of unemployment, it is not debatable that most youths who were abused by political entrepreneurs to perpetrate violence were unemployed. Added to this, article 14 of the African Youth Charter obligates African Union member states like Zimbabwe to eradicate poverty and ensure socio-economic integration of youths. The August 2018 and January 2019 extra judicial killings of mostly youths have cast doubt on governments’ sincerity to peacefully address or prioritize youth issues without resorting to violence and brute force.

On the occasion of this year’s Youth Day commemorations, Heal Zimbabwe implores the government to uphold and promote a culture where youths enjoy their human rights. Added to this, government must put in place measures and policies that ensure that concerns of youths are protected and addressed especially during this Covid-19 period.