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Zimbabwe & Russia sign Human Rights MOU

Story by Farai Gwaze

RELATIONS between Zimbabwe and Russia have been taken to the next level after the signing of a Human Rights Memorandum of Understanding in Harare this Wednesday.

The agreement is premised on 10 main clauses which seek to promote the protection of human rights in the two countries as explained by First Deputy Head of Staff of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation, Mr Llya Chechelnitskii.

“Today is a historical day in relations between Russia and Zimbabwe in the field of human rights protection. Traditionally between Russia and Zimbabwe we have established united approaches within the sphere of human rights. For the citizens of Zimbabwe and Russia equally it is important to have social rights, the right to land and Enviromental rights.

“Today’s Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by the High Commission in the Russian Federation and the chair of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission opening up a new stage in relations of our state human rights bodies. It contains 10 main clauses which firstly include providing of mutual help on application of citizens to the Russia Human Rights Commissioner and to the Zimbabwean Human Rights Commission on the rights of protection of citizens of Russia and Zimbabwe,” he explained.

With Russia and Zimbabwe under sanctions, the MOU seeks to support efforts to reduce the impact of the illegal embargoes based on the conviction that they suppress global human rights practices.

“By definition, human rights are universal and interdependent and so it takes all of us to tango in this regard. The experiences between Russia and Zimbabwe are similar in that both countries are under unilateral cohesive measures.

“Sanctions which were imposed without the say so of the UN and their imposition has serious effects on the enjoyment of human rights across board, affecting women and children. This is a hindrance of general socio economic rights and they are not being enjoyed because of the sanctions here. The movement of goods and relative items especially relating to food, which should be moving from Russia to Africa in general and not only Zimbabwe, as we are being hampered by sanctions.

“Therefore, the issue of us exchanging views and even taking them up to global human rights bodies is quite critical and important.That might move the countries imposing these sanctions to think otherwise,” said Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission chairperson, Dr Elasto Mugwadi.

Zimbabwe and Russia cooperate in various sectors including mining, education, and agriculture.

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