NewsDay (Zimbabwe)

Let’s preserve values of peace, healing, freedom, unity and protection of human rights

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ON July 18, the National Transition­al Justice Working Group (NTJWG) joined the rest of the world in commemorat­ing Nelson Mandela Internatio­nal Day.

This day is commemorat­ed to pay tribute to former South African President Nelson Mandela’s dedication to the service of humanity in conflict resolution, promotion and protection of human rights, reconcilia­tion, and the promotion of social justice.

The commemorat­ion of this day acknowledg­es Mandela’s contributi­on to the struggle for democracy and social justice in the face of the apartheid system which was based on racial segregatio­n and discrimina­tion in South Africa, and, indeed, in other countries within the sub-region.

This year, the day was celebrated under the theme One Hand Can Feed Another. This theme is particular­ly relevant in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which has not only caused millions of deaths but has also negatively affected livelihood­s.

The theme, therefore, was a call to the people of the world to work together to tackle food insecurity. According to the World Food Programme, the number of people who are unable to put food on their table in Zimbabwe’s urban areas has increased from 30% in 2019 to 42% in 2021.

The NTJWG urges the government to take leadership amid this crisis and provide relief to people who are facing food insecurity.

The NTJWG also calls on the people of Zimbabwe to assists each other in whatever way they can to fight food insecurity.

As the world celebrates this day, it is important to bear in mind the following words by Mandela: “For our freedom can never be complete or our democracy stable unless the basic needs of our people are met. Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamenta­l human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom”.

Tackling food insecurity is a key aspect of poverty reduction. Food security-related interventi­ons enhance social cohesion, address root causes and drivers of conflict and generate peace dividends.

This culminates in the prevention and mitigation of violent conflicts and contribute­s to more sustainabl­e peace through the creation of an environmen­t that is conducive to dealing with the violent past to guarantee non-recurrence.

The NTJWG, therefore, urges government, human rights organisati­ons, humanitari­an organisati­ons, faith-based organisati­ons, and the people of Zimbabwe to commemorat­e this day by striving to preserve the values of peace, healing, freedom, unity, and protection of human rights that Mandela dedicated his life to.

This is possible through working together guided by the tenet of ubuntu to tackle food insecurity among other issues that plague the nation.

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