Heal Zimbabwe Trust joins the rest of the world in commemorating International day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Through resolution 54/134 of 17 December 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which marks the first day of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender- Based Violence, which runs from the 25th of November to the 10th of December, Human Rights Day.
This year’s commemorations are running under the theme, ‘Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect’. This theme feeds into the United Nations’ Women’s campaign, Generation Equality Campaign which is a call that seeks to amplify the call for global action to bridge funding gaps, ensure essential services for survivors of violence during the COVID-19 crisis, focus on prevention, and collection of data that can improve life-saving services for women and girls. The theme is also aimed at amplifying and addressing the funding shortfall on efforts to end violence against women and girls towards the fulfillment of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 highlights the need to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Gender-based violence is a violation of human rights. This is reflected in international agreements such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women emphasized in the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing 1995.
The fight against violence against women has been dealt a heavy blow by the COVID-19 pandemic which has brought with it several challenges. Key among these challenges is the increase in Gender Based Violence (GBV) against women. Heal Zimbabwe Trust has made strides aimed at eradicating violence against women, rehabilitating and reintegrating women victims of political violence. Women play a pivotal role in ensuring peaceful co-existence in local communities and mitigating conflicts in local communities. This has been done through community structures established by communities working with Heal Zimbabwe such as Community Peace Clubs (CPC), Women Safe Space for Reconciliation (WSSR) and Community Accountability Action Teams (CAAT) where women play a role in building peace.
Through community peace clubs, women mobilize communities that have in the past been divided by violence and conflicts to engage in activities that build peace such as collaborative neutral platforms (nhimbes). Women Safe Space for Reconciliation are also platforms for women that convene and discuss important conflict issues affecting communities and develop possible solutions.WSSR also run income generating projects that ensures that they have reliable income that assist them in their welfare. They are also charged with the responsibility of conducting conflict mapping and stakeholder analysis exercises and document conflict issues in communities. Community Accountability and Action Teams (CAATs are women led community structures created specifically to address gender related issues affecting local women in communities.
On the occasion of this year’s commemorations, Heal Zimbabwe calls upon the Government to adequately provide resources to the Zimbabwe Gender Commission, which has a constitutional obligation of investigating possible violations of rights relating to gender.