Zimbabwe has ratified the following documents:
The following documents further define the obligations of Zimbabwe:
The documents listed above require Zimbabwe to protect and promote the following rights:
- African (Banjul) Charter on Human and People's Rights
- Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
- Convention on the Rights of the Child
- International Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
- International Covenant Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Right to development
Right to education
Right to equal protection of the law
Right to highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
Right to housing
Right to just and favorable work conditions
Right to liberty and security of the person
Right to life and survival
Right to marry and found a family
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of age
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of disability (i.e. HIV positive)
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of marital status
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of race and ethnicity
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of sex and gender
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation
Right to private and family life
Right to receive and impart information
Right to the benefits of scientific progress
Constitutional Protection of Rights
The Constitution of Zimbabwe can be viewed at http://www.chr.up.ac.za/hr_docs/constitutions/docs/ZimbabweC(rev).doc
The Constitution of Zimbabwe is an important tool for the protection and promotion of human rights.
The Constitution enables Zimbabwe to translate international agreements into domestic law, and obliges all branches of government to respect and ensure the rights it enunciates.
The Constitution provides for the protection of the following rights, among others. This empowers individuals in making reproductive health decisions, and helps create the economic and social conditions conducive to good sexual and reproductive health.
Right to the equal protection of the law (art. 11(a))
Right to freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (art. 15)
Right to freedom of association (art. 11(b))
Right to freedom of expression (art. 11(b), art. 20)
Right to freedom of movement (art. 22)
Right to liberty and security (art. 11(a), art. 13)
Right to life (art. 11(a), art. 12)
Right to own private property (art. 16)
Right to receive and impart information (art. 20)
Right to non discrimination on grounds of race (art. 23(2))
Right to seek and obtain redress for violations of rights (art. 24)
However, the Constitution allows restrictions to rights in certain cases.
The Constitution authorizes discrimination for matters in relation to marriage, divorce, and devolution of property upon death (art. 23(3)(a)).
What does that entail? The Constitution explicitly states that measures adopted in relation to those aspects of private life will not be considered discriminatory. This has direct consequences on the status of married women. Indeed, it means that women's right to equality, although provided for under international law, cannot be enforced if laws are adopted and discriminate against women in all of those matters. For additional information, please click on the link "learn about specific reproductive health and human rights topic" or contact the Human Rights Working Group.
The Constitution authorizes restrictions to the rights listed above:
- restrictions to the right to liberty "for the purpose of preventing the spread of an infectious or contagious disease" (art. 13(2)(g)), or for persons who are or suspected of being addicted to drugs (art. 13(2)(h))
- restrictions to the right to freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment, in the case of "moderate corporal punishment" of a person under 18 by a parent or substitute (art. 15(3)(a))
- restrictions to the rights to freedom of expression(art. 20(2)(a)), freedom of association (art. 21(3)(a)), and freedom of movement (art. 22(3)(a)), for the protection of public health
What do restrictions entail? By authorizing restrictions, it is acknowledged that Zimbabwe may be confronted with situations that will entail an infringement on rights. In such situations, Zimbabwe may take measures to address a public health problem without violating its own constitution.
Restrictions are authorized under international law if all of the following conditions are met:
- the restriction is provided for and carried out in accordance with the law
- the restriction is in the interest of a legitimate objective of general interest (e.g., the protection of public health)
- the restriction is strictly necessary in a democratic society to achieve the objective
- there are no less restrictive means available to reach the same objective
- the restriction is not drafted or imposed arbitrarily, i.e. in an unreasonable or otherwise discriminatory manner