Report of the Southern African Human and Trade Union Rights Network Meeting in Gaborone Botswana 9 and 10 December 2010

Keywords : Zimbabwe South Africa Human and trade union rights Botswana


The meeting of the ITUC-Africa Southern African Human and Trade Union Rights Network held in Gaborone, Botswana from 9 and 10 December, 2010. Participants from Botswana, Malawi, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Madagascar attended. A participant from the Eastern African HTUR Network (Kenya) was also invited to join the meeting as part of the process to enhance experience and information sharing and to build synergies. Also, the Southern African Trade Union Coordinating Council (SATUCC) was represented at the meeting by its Executive Secretary.

It was the first meeting of the network after its inauguration in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 2010. The meeting was divided into two events over a two-day period. On the first day, the meeting focused exclusively on the situations of human and trade union rights in Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Madagascar. The second day was dedicated to the commemoration of the international human rights day. As part of the commemoration, a march was organised with a petition detailing the issues of rights violations in the countries under focus and was delivered to the Southern African Development Commission (SADC).

Objective of the meeting

The group agreed to meet during the same period of the celebration of the International Human Rights day so as to use the symbolism of the commemoration to draw more attention to rights abuses in the sub-region. This decision was taken interestingly at the ITUC organised Special Conference for the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) in Harare, September 28 and 29, 2010. At the ZCTU Special Conference, it was pointed out that inspite of the fact that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has rolled out its technical support package for Zimbabwe to aid her in the implementation of the recommendations made by the ILO Commission of Inquiry (COI), abuses have not abated.

The objectives of the meeting amongst others were therefore to:
-  Draw the attention of SADC to continuous human and workers’ rights violations in Zimbabwe post-Global Political Agreement period.
-  Contribute to the process of sustaining the clamour and demand for the Zimbabwean government to do the needful by making genuine and concerted efforts to implement the ILO Commission of Inquiry (COI) recommendations.
-  Take reports of the states of human and trade union rights from Swaziland and Madagascar and draw attention to same.
-  Put more pressure on SADC to rein in rights violations in the sub-region.
-  Also, through the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day, draw attention to the needs for governments and their institutions to commit to genuine respect for human rights as espoused in the United Nations Fundamental Human rights principles and in other similar statues and principles.
-  Contribute to the process of achieving true and genuine democracy and democratic practices in the countries under focus.

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