Report on the Mission Visit to Chingwizi conducted from the 19th to the 22nd of August 2014.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) represented by Four(4) Commissioners, the Deputy Executive Secretary for Programmes and Seven (7) Human Rights Officers conducted a mission visit to the Chingwizi Relocation Site in Mwenezi District from the 19th to the 22nd of August 2014. The objective of the mission was to follow up on a complaint that had been received by the ZHRC from representatives of people who had been moved from the Tokwe-Mukosi area to Chingwizi Relocation Site. The move had been triggered by floods that occurred in February 2014 which the Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) declared a national disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Framework.
In conducting its visit the ZHRC considered these people as internally displaced persons (IDPs) given that their situation falls within the confines of the definition of internally displaced persons according to the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance for the Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Declaration) which Zimbabwe is a signatory to and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (UN Guiding Principles). These two instruments both define IDPs as “persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border”.
- Unlike refugees, the IDPs have not left their country of origin. They remain entitled to the same rights that all other citizens enjoy. They do however have special needs by virtue of their displacement. In most cases internal displacements deny innocent persons access to basic services like food, shelter, health related facilities and expose them to all manner of human rights violations and abuses. Therefore the crisis of IDPs requires concerted effort on the part of the state and other stakeholders, including international and local organizations, to address the specific needs of the persons affected.
The President declared the Tokwe-Mukosi flooding a national disaster on the 9th of February 2014 in terms of section 27 of the Civil Protection Act ( Chapter 10:06).
The Guiding Principles have gained international standing and authority, though they are not binding like a treaty.
African Union Convention For The Protection And Assistance Of Internally Displaced Persons In Africa (Kampala Declaration). Zimbabwe has not yet ratified this Convention.