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Imperatives for a functional national peace commission

The Church and Civil Society Forum (CCSF) conducted nationwide consultations jointly with government from November 2009 to April 2010 on non-state actors minimum standards regarding the content, process and framework for national peace and reconciliation Zimbabwe.

CCSF therefore urges government to mainstream all its efforts to give effect to Section 252 of Constitution imperatives for a functional National Peace and Reconciliation Commission as were outlined by the church and civil society organisations leaders during these consultative meetings. These are:

  • The commission should operate independently;
  • Commissioners to the commission to be drawn from diverse societal groups such as the church, traditional leaders, civil society and private sector;
  • That the process of peace and reconciliation take a sequential route, where institutional reforms (judiciary, security sector) must be undertaken as a first step;
  • Rebuilding trust, strengthening relationships and enhancing equity and social cohesion to ensure a healthy and prosperous nation;
  • Truth telling is a prerequisite for healing and reconciliation as it facilitates closure and helps in creating an accurate historical record for society and posterity;
  • No blanket amnesty for crimes against humanity, torture, rape and related sexual crimes, corruption and crimes of greed;
  • Strengthen local justice mechanisms;
  • The commission embarks on restoration of citizen security through rebuilding confidence in state security institutions and processes and traditional leadership structures;
  • Reparations to compensate for loss of life, limb and property taking into consideration the differential effects of conflict and violence on men and women;
  • Reintegration of both victims and perpetrators through frameworks for psychosocial support;
  • Enhancement of the education criteria to ensure that there is room for raising awareness on the costs of violent conflict and inculcate a culture of peace at an early age;
  • Sustained dialogue to be integrated in the national peace and reconciliation process as it provides for continuous engagement within a community;
  • Upholds truth and justice to deal with past injustices and guard against impunity;
  • Respects and upholds the life, dignity and human rights of all citizens;
  • Integrates peace building education into the national healing and reconciliation programmes and processes;
  • Facilitates holistic healing by providing psycho-social support, trauma healing, and spiritual restoration to both victims and perpetrators;
  • Provides security to both victims and perpetrators so that they can open up without fear of victimisation;
  • Guarantees the involvement of communities as equal partners through a grassroots-oriented approach that considers community peculiarities;
  •  Is relevant to the prevailing political, social and economic context of Zimbabwe;
  • That the commission, in developing procedures and institutions to facilitate conflict dialogue should acknowledge the moral and religious mandate of the church in issues of peace, reconciliation and social justice;
  • That the commission in developing procedures and institutions to facilitate conflict dialogue should acknowledge the centrality of civil society organisations in championing the rights of citizens;
  • That the set independent commission must thereafter look into the processes of national institutional reforms as prerequisites to national healing and reconciliation;
  • That the set independent commission must also undertake to establish the truth regarding all the conflicts that have been identified since 1980;
  • That the set independent commission may make representations directly to parliament;
  • That there be room and space created to also heal perpetrators though the general framework should victim-centered;
  • That the commission establishes a broad-based conflict early warning and early response mechanism to enable early detection and possible prevention of potential conflicts;
  • That the preservation of sustainable peace in Zimbabwe be enshrined in a national values framework that must be developed communicated and preserved and;
  •  The peace-building and mediation training be undertaken for the police, the army, parliamentarians, ministers, local government officials, chiefs, teachers, civil servants, among other stakeholders.
    CCSF is a collaborative lobby and support group of the Church and Civil Society Organisations for the establishment and functioning of a national institutional, policy and legislative framework to address past injustices and human rights violations.

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