Access to national identity documentation is a fundamental human right that forms the basis of enjoyment of other interrelated rights, Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda has said.
He was speaking at the launch of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) Report on the National Inquiry on the Access to Personal Documentation.
The inquiry was carried out between May 2019 and April this year.
"It is axiomatic that access to personal national documentation is a fundamental human right and forms a solid foundation for the enjoyment of many other interrelated rights.
"It is consequential that personal identity documents establish the legal relationship between a citizen and his or her country and they give rise to other related rights and obligations for both the person and the State," Adv Mudenda said. People without identity documents could not vote or access Government programmes and other social welfare initiatives they deserve.
The inquiry was conducted in all the country's 10 provinces and identified several factors preventing people from accessing personal identification documentation.
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) chairperson Elasto Mugwadi said some of the causes were based on generational non-documentation poverty, that is children of poor people without documents find it hard to get their own.
"The report unveils the root causes and factors that hinder documentation including, but not limited to the following; generational non-documentation poverty, negative religious and cultural practices and beliefs, migration and unknown whereabouts of parents, procrastination, negligence and lack of awareness by parents and guardians on the importance of national documents as well as home births that result in lack of birth confirmation records which are a sine qua non (an essential condition) for birth registration," he said.
He also said the Registrar General's Department also faced resource constraints and poor working conditions, centralisation of services and rigidity in application of policies as other factors that made it difficult for people to obtain identification records.
Mr Mugwadi called for the alignment of laws and policies with the Constitution to make it easy for people to access identity documents.