Between the 9 – 20 October, RWI’s Zimbabwe Human Rights Capacity Development Programme organised a study tour to Sweden for four of RWI’s Zimbabwean partner institutions, namely the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service, the Zimbabwe Gender Commission and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, the study tour was funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
Their visit was divided in two parts. The first a week was spent in Lund, where the partners had sessions on the role of ombudsman institutions, with the practical example of the Danish Parliamentary Ombudsman, on human rights education and the incorporation of the Convention of the Rights of the Child into national law in Sweden, as well as on the roles and functions of different Swedish institutions in regards to administration of justice and human rights in Sweden. The partners also had a chance to meet with practitioners, during the study visits to the Lund Court, to the Swedish Human Rights Institute, as well as to the Ringsjön female prison. The latter provided partners with insights into the programmes for rehabilitation of inmates into society, with sharing of best practices and challenges.
The second week of the study tour took place in Stockholm, with a series of very interesting study visits. The group discussed business and human rights issues with Swedwatch, the advocacy for the rights of persons with disabilities in Sweden with the Swedish Disability Rights Federation, the engagement of men and boys in the promotion of gender equality and to curb violence against women with the civil society organisation MÄN, and the promotion and protection of children’s rights with the Swedish Ombudsman for Children. The group also had good discussions at the Swedish Parliament on the role of the Committee on the Constitution, and with Sida on its work on human rights and democracy in the world and in Africa specifically. Lastly, the group also had an opportunity to discuss anti-corruption with Transparency International Sweden and with the Swedish Anti-Corruption Institute (IMM).
The knowledge and insight gained from these two weeks in Sweden is expected to go a long way in informing the work carried out by the partner institutions. RWI is currently working with the partners to develop strategic plans for future cooperation based on the institutions’ priorities, mandates and needs.