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  1. The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) joins the nation of Zimbabwe and the International Community in commemorating the 16 days of Activism against Gender–Based Violence (GBV). The 16 days of Activism, commonly referred to as the 16 Days Campaign, is an International campaign which takes place each year and runs from 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) to 10 December (Human Rights Day). It is a time when individuals and organisations worldwide reflect and call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.
  2. Gender- Based Violence (GBV) is an umbrella term for any harmful act  perpetrated against a person’s will and is based on socially ascribed (gender) differences between men and women. Gender-based violence is usually committed against women and girls. In Zimbabwe the causes of gender-based violence include the following; economic abuse by spouses, socio-economic challenges, widow inheritance, unfaithfulness amongst partners, trafficking; forced or early marriage, harmful traditional practices, sexual exploitation, forced prostitution and domestic violence.
  3. 2016 marks the Silver Jubilee (25 years) of commemorating the 16 days of Activism running under the theme, “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All!” which is a continuation from the 2015 theme. The theme recognises the need for a peaceful home environment while providing a conducive education environment in order to keep children in school. Presently, the country has witnessed worrying numbers of school drop-outs due to the following: poverty, deaths of parents, divorce/ separation, domestic quarrels by parents, unpredictable home environment, family support and attitudes towards education. School drop-outs easily become victims of HIV/Aids pandemic, gender-based violence because they are easily exploited in search of their basic needs for survival.
  4. The right to education is enshrined in Section 75 which states that “Every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe has a right to –a basic State-funded education, including adult’s basic education….” This provision resonates with the historic call bythe former United States President, James A. Garfield [1881], who observed: “Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be maintained.”
  5. The ZHRC calls upon every Zimbabwean to make their home environment peaceful. In addition, parents and caregivers should provide adequate school learning materials to their children such as school uniforms and stationery. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to make the education of their children a priority.
  6. In the same vein, the State is called upon to expedite the alignment of laws that safeguard against Gender based-violence in line with the Constitution. Furthermore, the State must demonstrate its commitment and willingness through adequate resource allocation to the Education sector in order to ensure that girls and young women remain in school which offers a safe environment for their development.
  7. The ZHRC pledges to work with Government and all other stakeholders in the protection, promotion and enforcement of human rights. In that regard, the ZHRC has operationalized the Thematic Working Group (TWG) on Gender Equality and Women’s Rights to give specialised attention to the rights of women, men, girls and boys. Let us all work together to have a gender violence free Zimbabwe.

ZHRC Offices

Northern Region Office and Head Office

144 Samora Machel Avenue, Harare

Tel +263 4 2934102/3 or 251077/079/085 or 705268/426

Website: www.zhrc.org.zw

ZHRC Press Statement on the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence – December 2016