UNIC Harare unveils Shona and Ndebele versions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
On 12 February, 2015, UNIC Harare unveiled local language versions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The event was officiated by the UNIC Harare Director and UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Bishow Parajuli in the UNIC library, where framed copies will remain a permanent feature.
Speaking at this event Mr Parajuli said the event was the “beginning of a long journey.”
“We have only managed to translate the Declaration into two Zimbabwean languages while the Constitution of Zimbabwe recognizes 16 national languages. Together, we will surely get there where our Zimbabwean children and youth will have the opportunity to read the articles of the Declaration in their own mother tongue and apply them in their lives and for the benefit of their communities,” he said.
Mr Parajuli commended the Government of Zimbabwe for its commitment to promote human rights. He cited the Government’s adoption of “a progressive, people centred and rights-based constitution,” saying this was a key milestone in Zimbabwe’s human rights history.
Likewise, Zimbabwe’s participation for the first time in the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights, where it accepted and has since been working to implement 130 recommendations made through the UN Human Rights Council is another key milestone.
The UPR is a global process which allows for all countries to mutually review their human rights achievements and challenges every four years.
Mr Francis Munhundiripo, Principal Administrative officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the unveiling came at the right time given that Zimbabwe’s new Constitution recognizes 16 local languages as official languages. He expressed the hope that UNIC and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) would work together to translate and disseminate the document into the other official languages.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Mr Elasto Mugwadi said the launch is an important landmark in the development of fundamental human rights awareness as henceforth, Ndebele and Shona speaking people in this country will be acquainted with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights couched in their mother tongue.”
He said it is our obligation to “bring the awareness of the generality of humankind to their entitlement to these rights and freedoms through various methods including teaching, education and information dispensation in languages which people understand and converse in.”
Following the Launch, UNIC will work with a cross-section of organizations to disseminate the local language versions of the declarations.