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Honourable Acting Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Mr. Christopher Mushowe.

Honourable Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan Province, Mrs. Miriam Chikukwa.

Honourable Chairpersons of Parliamentary Portfolio and Thematic Working Groups.

The Chairperson for Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, Mr. Elisto Hilarious Mugwadi.

Other Commissioners here present.

Representatives from Embassies and Development Partners here present

Permanent Secretaries for Ministries

Directors and Government Officials here present

Representatives from Universities and Colleges

Representatives from Labour Unions Civil Society Organizations 

Members from the Media Fraternity

Distinguished Guests, ladies and Gentlemen

All protocols observed    

On behalf of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) it is my pleasure to welcome you all to this Stakeholder engagement seminar to commemorate the International Women’s Day. I would like to extend my utmost gratitude to all of you for making time to attend this seminar.

As you may be aware, International Women’s day is commemorated annually on 8th March to focus attention on the rights of women, and highlight women’s issues globally focusing on their achievements. It is a day that presents humanity, the world over all over, with an opportunity tocelebrate the achievements of women in different settings, in different countries, of different races, while calling for greater equality in society.

For this year 2015, the international theme is“Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it” recognising the multiplier effect of empowering women and the national theme is “Beijing +20: The Journey towards women empowerment in Zimbabwe: Successes and Challenges”.

In line with the two themes, this commemorative Engagement Seminar aims to take stock of the effectiveness of measures adopted to promote rights of women and girls in the country since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action (1995), 20 years after and recommend further action to achieve gender equality in the political, economic and social spheres. The Beijing Platform of Action prioritises 12 critical areas that needed attention so as to empower women, eliminate gender discrimination and achieve gender equality and gender equity, focusing on such issues as women and poverty, education and training, women and the economy, politics and decision making and gender based violence.

To commemorate this very important human rights event, the ZHRC scheduled activities that commenced with the Commission being hosted on the TV programme, “Good Morning Zimbabwe” on Thursday, the 5th of March. The Commission then issued press statements in some of our local newspapers on Sunday, the 8th of March 2015, followed by radio public seminars during the course of the week culminating in this stakeholder engagement seminar. The objectives of these commemorative activities are to:

  1. Raise awareness of the public on the mandate and work of the ZHRC in general and the Commission’s Thematic Working Group on Gender and Women’s Rights in particular;
  2. Raise awareness on the importance of International Women’s Rights Day and the rights of women; and
  3. Facilitate dialogue among key stake holders and the public to come up with practical steps to ensure effective action for advancing and recognising women.

To realise the third objective of the seminar as stated, four panellists will lead dialogue on issues on women’s rights and concerns during this seminar as resource persons but I do appreciate that all of you have valuable ideas that can be harnessed to further improve the situation of women from local to the national levels. It is my hope that this seminar presents a platform where such ideas can be discussed and lead to practical effective steps by different stakeholders represented here to advance and recognise women and girls as equal rights holders.

I would like therefore like to encourage all of you to feel free to contribute actively in this forum as all our ideas will be instrumental towards empowerment of women and empowerment of humanity.

I wish you all a wonderful seminar.

Welcome Remarks by the Executive Secretary of the ZHRC, Ms. J. H. Charewa at the International Women’s Day Stakeholder Engagement Seminar, Crown Plaza Monomotapa Hotel, Harare