Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, ARTUZ joins the rest of the world in commemorating the historic International human rights day.
We commemorate this day in mourning in the wake of the wholesale erosion of rights and freedoms.
Our Union is particularly infuriated by the violation of the right to education and labour rights as enshrined in sections 75 and 65 of Zimbabwe’s constitution respectively. The underfunding of education because of neo liberal strategy of austerity has deprived learners’ access quality education. Schools infrastructure is collapsing and we have a shortage of over 2000 schools.
Existing schools have no adequate teaching and learning materials. Learners are learning under trees. Unavailability and shortage of electricity and water has led to suspension of other learning areas especially in the STEM section. The drop in 2019 grade seven results by over 5% is ample evidence of the rot in our education.
Teacher morale has hit an all-time low. Our Union recorded 210 cases of teachers who have left the profession in protest against underpayment. Those who are still in the service have declared incapacitation reducing our schools to playing grounds.
The teachers who have attempted to organize themselves have been victims of unimaginable state repression. Our Union recorded 7 cases of incidences of abductions and torture of our members this year, 17 unjustified arrests, 29 punitive salaries’ freeze and other forms of harassment. All these members were victimized either for simply demanding a living wage or in more ridiculous circumstances for just associating with ARTUZ.
The freedoms of association and assembly have been trampled upon with impunity. Peaceful protests are violently crushed by the State. The report by the special rapporteur on freedom of association and assembly comprehensively captures the violations we are exposed to as a people.
We call upon the government of Zimbabwe to recommit themselves to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and strive to enhance enjoyment of these rights rather than curtailing access.
We call upon the International community to assist our security sector with trainings on human rights.
To the working class we call upon each one of you to put shoulder to the wheel as we unite and demand our rights. These rights are not going to come on the wheels of inevitability we have to sacrifice everything we have to create a better Zimbabwe for ourselves and generations to come.