On International Women’s Day, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) calls on government to take more concrete action to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment in Zimbabwe.
Commemorated every year on 8 March, International Women’s Day offers an opportunity to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in their communities and countries.
The timely and importance of the 2019 theme “#BalanceforBetter”, cannot be over-emphasised.
In Zimbabwe, it is saddening that International Women’s Day is being commemorated at a time when many women have been victims of violence perpetrated by state and non-state actors. Regrettably, no action has been taken to provide effective remedies for all the women who have been subjected to unprecedented violations such as sexual assault, torture and arbitrary assaults. Several women have also been subjected to arbitrary arrests and detention following the protests held in January 2019. A number of women including women human rights defenders are still on trial facing charges of committing public violence and attempting to overthrow the government.
Although the Constitution explicitly guarantees women’s rights and while government has voluntarily committed to implement legislative measures to outlaw discrimination against women and promote their status, women continue to be marginalised and excluded from economic, social and political spheres of society.
Women continue to bear the brunt of economic mismanagement as they continue to lack access to basic services such as health care, potable water, shelter, food and other necessary amenities including decent livelihoods.
As an organisation committed to fostering a culture of human rights and a balanced world, ZLHR calls on government to:
o Thoroughly investigate the sexual violation of women and hold perpetrators accountable.
o Urgently implement legislative and administrative measures to outlaw discrimination against women and promote the status of women and align laws with the Constitution and ensure more participation and empowerment of women.
o Ratify all outstanding treaties and optional protocols such as the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
No. 103 Sam Nujoma Street, Harare, Zimbabwe
Phone: (+263 8677005347, +263 242 764085/705370/708118
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