Thank for you attending the official launch of “The Right Stuff”, Human Rights Week which runs from 10-15 December.

Today, December 10th,  is International Human Rights Day. It’s also the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, made by global leaders in in 1948.

In Zimbabwe, Human Rights are protected in the Constitution, which clearly states that every person has the right to life, equality, security, and dignity. You have the right to express your view, to access information, to a free media, to own property, and to peacefully demonstrate and petition for change. You have a right to safe drinking water, to sufficient food, basic health care, to education, to a secret vote, and to justice.

 Chapter 4 article 56 of the Constitution states – and I quote: “All persons are equal before the law and have the right to equal protection and benefit from the law.”

The Netherlands supports international human rights work around the globe, because we recognise and believe that “injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.” (Thank you, Martin Luther King, for phrasing it so powerfully.)

This year, the Netherlands Embassy has teamed up with HIFA to promote awareness of human rights through hosting Human Rights Week events in five suburbs of Harare and Chitungwiza. These are: Mabvuku, Hatcliffe, Epworth, St Mary’s and Seke. At each site we’ll be screening a film, “ A goat for a vote”, a comedy about elections for a student representative in a school in Kenya.

And there’s an exciting array of local music artists who will be performing at each venue. The events will be free to the public. We think it will be a fun and memorable way to ensure that people become more aware, empowered and able to stand up for human rights.

The Constitution of Zimbabwe was made a supreme law in 2013. Five years later, many laws are still not aligned to it. Progress has been made, but it is not enough and it’s not quickly enough. The Netherlands Embassy stands with the United Nations and other international development partners in urging the government to accelerate the process of aligning all laws, policies and legal instruments to with the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Furthermore, we ask the government to uphold the Constitution and respect the rights, dignity and security of all Zimbabwean residents at all times.  And to share the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence.

Finally, today is the last day of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, a global campaign that the Netherlands Embassy is supporting in Zimbabwe. I want to remind everyone present what to I – as a woman, as an ambassador and as a human – know to be true:
Women’s rights are human rights.  Every woman in Zimbabwe has a right to speak freely and be heard. Every woman in Zimbabwe has a right to own property and to keep and invest the money she earns. Every woman in Zimbabwe has a right to be safe. As stated in article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: every human being is born free and equal in dignity and rights without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other status.

Thank you.