Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe
Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe is a non-governmental organization whose aim is to highlight the plight of the Zimbabwean people and assist in cases of human rights abuse.
The organisation was established in 1972 during the colonial times and was known as the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Rhodesia. It changed its name when Rhodesia became Zimbabwe after independence in 1980 and established offices in Harare, Bulawayo, Binga, and Mutare, along with the presence of a "Justice and Peace committee in each diocese. Since formation its stated duties are; to inform people's consciences; to make people aware of their rights and duties as citizens; to encourage love, understanding and harmony through the promotion of the Church's social teaching; to investigate allegations of injustice which it considers to merit attention, and to take appropriate action; to keep in contact with other organisations with similar aims and objectives and;to advise the Bishop's Conference on the human rights situation pertaining from time to time.
In March 1997, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe compiled the report on the situation in Matabeleland and the Midlands during the period of 1980-1988 titled Breaking the Silence, Building True Peace. The report was based on the human rights abuses allegedly orchestrated by the then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe's North Korean-trained Zimbabwean Fifth Brigade, which was known within the nation as the Gukurahundi. The publication of the report was possible because Zimbabwe had been enjoying a period of stability and national unity since the Unity Accord of 1987.
As one of the few human rights organizations in Zimbabwe, CCJPZ has made significant contributions to the documentation of the injustices and suffering of the Zimbabwean people during the War of Liberation and Gukurahundi. In the late nineties the Commission distributed impartial literature on the right to vote which led to a high voter turnout for the 2000 parliamentary elections.
The CCJPZ has recorded crucial chapters of Zimbabwe's history in reports and publications since before independence in 1980. These records encompass the Rhodesian Bush War, Gukurahundi, pre-election and post-election violence since independence.
CCJPZ is a Commission of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference with an affiliation to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in Rome and has active contact with Commissions in other countries.
- Reaching for Justice, a history of the CCJP (Mambo Press, 1992)
- Caught in The Crossfire (Video detailing the plight of the Zimbabwean people in the Liberation War of the 1970s)
- Catholic Institute for International Relations, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Rhodesia. Rhodesia After the Internal Settlement, 1978