Tuesday, 25 November 2008
16 DAYS OF GENDER ACTIVISM IN ZAMBIA
TIMES OF ZAMBIA employees participating in a march-past during the launch of the 16 Days of Activism against gender violence in Lusaka.
ZAMBIA joined the rest of the world in commemorating the 16 days of Activism against Gender violence.
Scores of people from different walks of life participated in a march-past to raise awareness against gender-based violence.
In Lusaka, the gender activists marched with raised placards displaying messages against gender violence.
Vice president George Kunda joined the marchers and addressed them with a to expedite the process of auditing legislation to assess the extent to which the provisions of the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.
Mr Kunda was presenting a message from President Rupiah Banda.
This was at the Mulungushi international conference centre.
In Mr Kunda reminded the audience that Governments remained commited to the fight against gender-based violence.
He said discussions by both the ministry of Justice and the Gender in Development division regarding the proposed Bill on gender-based violence were on schedule and that the Government would present it to Parliament.
Explaining the measures that the Government was implementing in the effort to eradicate gender violence, Mr Banda said the vision 2039 prioritised the protection of human rights, especially those of women and children.
Mr Kunda also said the Fifth National Development Plan (FNDP) prioritised the domestication of various human rights instruments which Zambia subscribed.
The theme for the 16 days of gender activism was “Human Rights for Women-Human Rights for All in Zambia”.
“For my administration, the theme is challenging us leaders to critically reflect on our legislation, policies and programmes in so far as they relate to the rights of women,” he said.
Mr Kunda said Government placed the protection of the rights of all individuals on the
He said even if the constitution provided for the protection of the rights of all individuals, there were concerns raised by various stakeholders that the rights of women had not been adequately addressed.
He said Government thought it fit to enact the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) Act to enable the people of Zambia to create a constitution that represented their views and those that will protect all the citizens.
He said it was his belief that gender issues and other pertinent issues raised during the consultative process would feature more prominently in the new constitution.
Home Affairs minister Kalombo Mwansa was also present. He said there were a lot of challenges in the fight against gender based violence hence a lot of work needed to be done.
Dr Mwansa urged all Zambians to get involved in the fight, as all citizens were potential victims of the vice.
But United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative Macleod Nyirongo said Zambia like many other countries in the world was still experiencing an increase in incidences of gender-based violence.
Mr Nyirongo said the Zambia Report of the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of discriminations indicated that violence against women and children was still on the increase.
“The number of reported cases of defilement rose from 306 reported cases in 2000 to 1511 cases in 2005. Likewise, reported cases of rape increased from 198 in 2001 to 308 in 2003,” he said.
Pixie Yangailo is the chairperson for the Human Rights Commission. She said millions of women and girls were currently being tormented day and night simply because of their gender, which was bad.
She said despite an array of international human rights standards having been adopted and acceded to by nearly all nations of the world gender-based violence had refused to go away.
Non Government Organisation Coordinating Council chairperson Marian Munyinda called for the quick domestication of various international convention related to the protection of women’s rights in the country.
Our current demand to open up unconditional debate on the Bill of Rights, within the NCC, still stands, Munyinda said.