“The Constitution Can Change Peoples’ Lives”

admarkDr. Admark Moyo from the Herbert Chitepo School of Law at Great Zimbabwe University in Masvingo, Zimbabwe is wrapping up his stay in Lund as a visiting researcher. Dr. Moyo was been awarded a grant for research projects in 2016 related to the theme “Human Rights and the Zimbabwean Constitution”, under the RWI Zimbabwe Human Rights Capacity Development Programme 2016-2018.

What drew you to the field of law and human rights?

Growing up in Zimbabwe and seeing the levels of poverty, I became aware at an early age of injustices and developed an interest for human rights and law. With a background in humanities I also viewed law as a promising career and decided to enroll in law school after graduating from high school. I was granted a scholarship to study in South Africa and obtained my legal degree in 2006.

Your current research is on human rights and the Zimbabwean Constitution, what aspects of the Constitution do you focus on?

My research is on the interpretation clause in section 46 of the Constitution which explains how judges should interpret rights in the Constitution. I analyze the interpretation clause in the Declaration of Rights of the 2013 Zimbabwean Constitution. Certain rights require judges to consult international law. For instance, in order to interpret the right to privacy, judges may need to look at how it has been applied by international courts.

Why is the Constitution important for human rights?

I am interested in how civil society can use the Constitution to change their lives.

There are social and economic rights enshrined in the Constitution, and that doesn’t just mean there should be, say, free education. It means that the government has positive obligations to actually do something about poverty.

I am convinced that civil society plays an important role here. Pressure groups can speak to the government and refer to the Constitution by saying that it actually requires you to provide health care services etc., for it to fulfull its constitutional obligations.

With a vibrant civil society and independent, good courts that are willing to stand their ground to protect the rights of the people, the Constitution can actually change people’s lives.

The results of his research will be presented, together with several other grant recipients from partner universities under the Programme, at a national symposium in Harare, Zimbabwe on 5-6 December 2016.

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