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THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has been paralyzed by “massive” resignations which have seen the body operating with 36 officers out of the initial and required 120 members.

At a human rights situation review meeting which was organized by the US Embassy Wednesday, Chairperson of the commission Elasto Mugwadi was at pains to explain the achievements they have made since their establishment a couple of years ago.

Mugwadi said the body has been hit by a “massive” exodus of staff owing to underfunding.

“The Commission is not only underfunded but under staffed. We have taken on the responsibilities of the former public protector, the Ombudsman, whose office was abolished when the Public Protector Act was repealed by the current Constitution.

“We have done that and the staff we have got is a skeleton staff of only 36,” said Commissioner Mugwadi.

“We had appointed about 55 people and there have been massive resignations because of lack of resources. So we are supposed to be tackling the onerous responsibilities of two offices which have now been brought together through the efforts of only 36 human rights officers and other supporting staff when we should be strictly speaking to have about 120”.

He said because of the skeleton staff they were failing to be at every corner of the country, carrying out their mandate which is to monitor the human rights situation.

“So, we just hope that progressively we will get there and try to address human rights violations and issues in this country sufficiently to the satisfaction of the populace of this country,” he said.

Members of the civil society accused the commission of deliberately failing to investigate human rights violations happening throughout the country.

But Commissioner Mugwadi said despite being underfunded and short staffed they have so far managed to investigate the Tokwe Mukosi human rights violations and put some recommendations to government.

“We have highlighted the plight of these people and forwarded the recommendations to the authorities some of which we believe are now being implemented.

“We are also compiling a report on the violence which is happening in Hurungwe West with the intention of forwarding it to the authorities,” he said.

Source : New Zimbabwe

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