Unending Woes of Zimbabwean Women.
The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe wishes to express grave concern over the unfolding events in Zimbabwe where recently twelve people were reportedly killed, 78 treated for gunshots and hundreds assaulted across the country after a government crackdown to protests against fuel increases and the dwindling economy. WCoZ calls for peace and “ceasefire” on use of ammunition against citizens. WCoZ also urges government to exercise restraint when addressing civil disorder.
The issue of national peace cannot be divorced from a human security perspective, from respect for human rights, and from the need for development. Above all, it cannot be removed from the lives affected or lost. In cases of political violence, vulnerable populations, including persons with disabilities, women and children suffer disproportionately. Due to existing inequalities, they are more vulnerable to physical, sexual violence and exploitation.
How many more mass killings of people? How many more shootings and assault of women – the pregnant, persons with disabilities and the old as witnessed on the 14th of January 2019? How many more widows and orphans will it take before Zimbabwe restores dignity for the sanctity of life?
WCoZ urges government to live up to its Constitutional and International human rights obligations. The National Constitution clearly articulates the right to life in Section 48, the right to equality, dignity and non-discrimination in Section 56, the right to personal security in Section 52 and the right not to be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment in Section 53.On the other hand, the UN Declaration of 1993 on the Elimination of Violence against Women spells out the obligation of the State to safeguard the lives of women and exercise due diligence when gender-based violence occurs, whether perpetrated by the State or by private persons.
WCoZ also implores government to approach violence from a human security perspective, in which human development is assured for the civilian population. Unless we respect humanity, we will continue frustrating the best of efforts to develop our nation. We call on our government to resolve conflicts with those concerned in a spirit of dialogue.
WCoZ does not condone violence and vandalism of property and is therefore appealing to citizens to exercise their rights in a peaceful and responsible manner. While it is constitutional to demonstrate as articulated in Section 59 of the constitution, this should be done peacefully. Let us maintain a culture of peace which we are well known for. Violence distorts the ethical standards of our communities, disrupts the social fabric of our society and hinders the process of human development
It is our profound hope that the citizens of Zimbabwe, the State and all relevant stakeholders will consider these concerns and return to peace.