Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission: Strengthening the Public Protector Function

Within the broader framework of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Capacity Development Programme, and more specifically under the EU-funded Support to the “Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Project” the RWI, in cooperation with the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, just ran a capacity building workshop aimed at strengthening the institutional and human resources capacities of the ZHRC in its public protector function:

“The overall objective of the workshop was geared towards increasing the ZHRC’s effectiveness and efficiencies in the discharge of its mandate in promoting and protecting human rights and general good governance in Zimbabwe through administrative justice”, says Innocent Mawire, Programme Officer at the RWI Zimbabwe Office. “More specifically, the workshop was aimed at reviewing the draft operational framework and internal manual on Administrative Justice Function, which will guide the ZHRC in implementing its administrative justice mandate.”

The ZHRC assumed the public protector function, following the advent of the new Constitution of Zimbabwe in 2013.

The draft manual, which will form the core of the discussions over the next two days, was developed by a team of renowned Zimbabwean academics and experts in administrative justice and human rights matters led by Professor Geoff Feltoe.

Over the next two days, the 18 participants, who are all ZHRC officers had the opportunity to interact with the consultants (Professor Feltoe and Mr Nyasha Chishakwe) in the interrogation of the draft manual on administrative justice. Participants also had the chance to learn from the comparative international best practices through the expert presentations from Karol Nowak, a leading academic expert who will provide valuable insights on the Swedish Parliamentary Ombudsman and the lessons it can provide to the Zimbabwean context.

This workshop, which was made made possible with financial support from the European Union under the “Support to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Project” will contribute towards increased enjoyment of constitutional rights in Zimbabwe through strengthening the public protector function of the ZHRC.

“By the end of the workshop, the ZHRC got a better understanding of the administrative justice system and are more equipped with the necessary skills set to deal with administrative justice cases the Commission may be seized with”, says Innocent Mawire. “More importantly, the workshop provided guidance and valuable feedback to consultants which will help them finalise the ZHRC Operational Framework and internal Manual on Administrative Justice which is will be an important policy framework and toolkit for all the ZHRC officers charged with the public protector mandate.”

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