Human rights monitoring can be viewed as the collection, verification, and use of information about human rights and the abuse thereof. Whereas it is the duty of government to respect, promote, protect and fulfill the human rights of its citizens, community groups and individuals can complement this role by monitoring how government complies with its human rights obligations. Those who do so act as human rights defenders as defined by Amnesty International, as “people who on their own or with others take action to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights for all”.
Community monitoring of human rights means the formal and informal identification, by community members, of human rights challenges and developments in their own community, for the purpose of contributing to strategies that seek to prevent and address the human rights challenges they face. This forms part of community participation in, and contribution to good governance and accountability.
This bulletins gives the rationale for and explains how communities can monitor human rights. It also discusses how it is already done by some in Zimbabwe.