The Zimbabwe Poets for Human Rights (ZPHR) was established in 2007 with a mission to use the arts as an effective medium to address human rights and governance issues. It aims to expose factors that lie at the basis of human rights violations such as autocracy, impunity, nepotism and suppression through poetry and related art forms.
Among its objectives are the following:
- To broaden and strengthen performance poetry as an alternative media in human rights advocacy;
- To promote various freedoms and rights such as freedom of expression, movement, assembly, association and the right to security and protection through poetry and related art forms;
- To repel any legislation that robs Zimbabweans of their basic human rights;
- To create a platform for artists and the general public to interact and exchange ideas resulting in a better understanding of human rights; and
- To create and promote initiatives that do not discriminate against people on the basis of gender, sex, race, tribe, religious affiliation, disability, colour or creed.
The Zimbabwe Poets for Human Rights members recite human rights related poems on the streets of major cities in the country. Its members are also invited to different places to perform in halls and other public spaces. They attract large crowds at their functions and because of this have clashed with the country’s security sector on countless occasions. In many cases the have been beaten up, arrested and imprisoned.