Zimbabwe’s Constitution is laudable for the inclusion of socio-economic rights in the Declaration of Rights. Just like civil and political, socio-economic rights are equally important as they are basic standards without which people cannot live in dignity as human beings. Socio-economic and cultural rights are therefore as fundamentally important as civil and political rights. The enjoyment of all human rights is interlinked, civil and political and SER concerns therefore reinforce each other as ingredients for basic human dignity. The importance of economic, social and cultural rights cannot be overstated. Poverty and exclusion lie behind many of the security threats that we continue to face both within and across borders and can thus place at risk the promotion and protection of all human rights.
The fulfilment, protection and respect of these rights by any state reflect the state’s commitment to its citizens especially the poor and marginalized communities. By their nature human rights are indivisible, inalienable and interdependent thus there is a strong link between socio economic and civil and political rights. For example the socio-cultural analysis done during the development of the ZPP Strategic Plan 2014-2018 reflected that the non performing economy had increased social strife in the country, with increased cases of sexual abuse, increased vulnerability of youths, women and girl child.
Since its inception Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) continues to work for sustainable peace in Zimbabwe through monitoring and documenting violations of civil and political rights. The recognition of intertwining of these rights led to a strategic decision by ZPP to extend the monitoring of human rights from civil and political rights to cover socio-economic rights as well. ZPP also recognizes and reaffirms that the state has the obligation to respect, fulfil and respect socio economic rights. That realisation has influenced ZPP to monitor socioeconomic rights violations in an effort to ensure respect for human rights as constitutionally guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, also known as the Declaration of Rights.
It is against this background that ZPP has conducted a pilot project monitoring violations of socio-economic rights in Masvingo and Matebeleland North provinces since October 2014.The socio-economic rights under review are: right to adequate food, right to water, right to education and right to health care. This report outlines the findings for the first quarter (October-December 2014) of the project.