Zimbabwe gays engage rights commission
By Staff Reporter
THE Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) has met with the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) in a bid to sensitise the statutory rights watchdog over matters do to with the gay community’s own unique rights.
In his remarks while opening the Gweru workshop Friday, ZHRC chairperson Elasto Mugwadi said all Zimbabweans regardless of their sexual orientation were equal.
“Every Zimbabwean citizen is equal before the law in terms of Section 56 of the Constitution which provides for equality and non – discrimination,” Mugwadi said.
“Zimbabwe is a diverse and multi-ethnical nation with various minority groups whose Constitutional rights have to be respected and protected.
“The Constitution of Zimbabwe also states at Section 51 that every person has the right to human dignity.
“The Right to dignity entails that a person must be valued and respected for being what they are and who they are.”
Mugwadi was however quick to admit that despite his commission putting up a decent effort in defence of the rights of ordinary Zimbabweans, the rights body had not had much interaction with the gay community in Zimbabwe since our operationalisation in 2014.
He said the commission could “not pretend to understand their underlying challenges”.
“We have however, had some information exchanges with other human rights stakeholders especially at regional level.
“It is therefore imperative for the Commission, to get a better understanding of this category of rights, what they entail, the experiences of citizens concerned, challenges experienced –if any, and also the recommendations on how the Commission could fully implement its mandate, taking cognisance of the LGBTI community’s unique needs.
“I am sincerely hopeful that we will be sufficiently exposed and learn more from the lived realities of the LGBTI community who I understand often face discrimination, violence, persecution, blackmail, extortion, disownment by families, unfair dismissal from occupations, invasion of privacy and unequal representation before the law among other ills,” he said.