Thursday, January 28, 2010

By Media and Publications Officer

Participants at the Youth Think Tank meeting held at Habakkuk Trust yesterday have stressed the need for the new constitution to protect the rights of the ordinary citizens.

Youths who spoke passionately on the need to have a constitutional framework that guarantees not only the freedom to exercise one’s rights also called for fair and just mechanisms for the protection of human rights.
This therefore calls for the capacity building of all law enforcement agents as they have been violating people rights both by default and by design, said the participants.
Francis, a university student, reiterated that “We have seen arbitrary arrests and searching on the streets and if you challenge it the police beat you thoroughly, and even if you comply they beat you again.” “We need to change from the current system where by the police, if they suspect you to be a criminal, they ‘shoot and then ask questions later’” pleaded Bhekumuzi Moyo.
The youths further stressed the need for the new constitution to mandate the government to speedily domesticate international laws and protocols. Other issues that emerged as pertinent during the meeting were the rights to information, the right to protection, the freedom after speech and freedom to exercise one’s rights without fear.

The meeting also brought out the need for the National Youth Council to be completely overhauled and be constitutionally constituted so as to effectively address the needs and concerns of youths irrespective of political affiliations.
“The National Youth Service was as a very noble idea that was unfortunately badly executed as it fell on the wrong hands,” observed Pastor Muchina who also said the institute should tap from international youth service institutions and concentrate in teaching life skills, values, and nationhood and empower youths to be responsible citizens.
The meeting that was attended by youths from various sectors that included CSOs, churches and Habakkuk Trust Action Teams discussed issues to do with Youth representation at decision making levels, the majority age and bill of rights.

The Habakkuk Trust sector Think Tanks continue today with a Think Tank for the Women and specifically tackling the thematic areas of Women and Gender, Land, Natural Resources and Empowerment and Bill of Rights.

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