4 February 2013

Zimbabwe: War Vets Entitled to Care

THE State will be compelled to provide financial support and other basic needs of the elderly if the draft constitution is approved. The provisions, contained in the Declaration of Rights contained in Chapter 4 will also require people to provide for elderly people within their families.

According to Section (82) on the rights of the elderly: "People over the age of 70 years have the right-

(a) to receive reasonable care and assistance from their families and the State;

(b) to receive health care and medical assistance from the State; and

(c) to receive financial support by way of social security and welfare; and the State must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within the limits of the resources available to it, to achieve the progressive realisation of this right."

Despite the provisions for the elderly the draft also provides for the rights of women including equal opportunities with men to political, economic and social activities.

It also gives women the same rights as men over the custody and guardianship of children and repeals any law that contravenes these provisions.

The constitution also provides for the rights of children including the right to be heard, to have a birth certificate, and family or parental care.

In the event that there is absence of family or parental care the State is also required to take responsibility of the children.

Children will also be entitled to education, health, shelter and safety from exploitation.On people with disabilities the draft compels the State to, "take appropriate measures, within the limits of the resources available to it, to ensure that persons with disabilities realise their full mental and physical potential."

The measures include the right to be self-reliant, to participate in social and recreative activities, access to medical, psychological and functional treatment and protection from all forms of abuse.

War veterans, war collaboratos and others who contributed to the liberation of the country's welfare will also be catered for.

Section 84 (1) states that: "Veterans of the liberation struggle, that is to say-(a) those who fought in the War of Liberation;

(b) those who assisted the fighters in the War of Liberation;

(c) those who were imprisoned, detained or restricted for political reasons during the liberation struggle; are entitled to due recognition for their contribution to the liberation of Zimbabwe, and to suitable welfare such as pensions and access to basic health care."

Adds the draft: "(2) An Act of Parliament must confer on veterans of the liberation struggle the entitlements due to them under subsection (1)."

War veterans are currently provided for under the War Veterans Act while collaborators and those who were imprisoned, detained or restricted are not catered for.

War veterans received a Z$50 000 gratuity in 1997 and are due a monthly pension and school fees under the current law.

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