Tuesday, 29 November 2011 14:27

ZAMBIA: Gender Violence MPs Challenged

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Speaker of the National Assembly, Patrick Matibini, has called on Members of Parliament (MPs) to help combat gender-based violence in Zambia.

Dr Matibini said the National Assembly was concerned about the status and well being of women, hence the call on MPs to ensure that all forms of violence were removed.

He said this at the commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence at the Parliament buildings in Lusaka yesterday. The theme for this year is 'Create peace in the home for peace in Zambia: United we stand to end violence against women and children'.

Dr Matibini said it was sad that male dominance over females was tolerated in society and that violence against women in homes was rife. He said it was also sad that perpetrators of gender-based violence were usually close family members

"Gender-based violence in most homes though noticed, is kept within a home and continues without remedy. "As the theme states, we should start creating peace in our homes. When we eliminate gender-based violence in our homes, then our communities and nation will be at peace," Dr Matibini said.

He said Parliament had also taken strides to fight gender-based violence through passing the law on the protection of women and children from indecent assault, sexual harassment, defilement and trafficking in persons, under the Penal Code Amendment Act No.5 of 2005.

The Amended Penal Code and the Gender Based Violence Act 2010 provided for stiffer penalties upon conviction for perpetrators of violence against women and children. "I urge MPs to encourage women, girls and others in your respective constituencies and communities to speak openly against violence.

"Victims, close relations and neighbours should also report cases of gender-based violence to the police," he said. Dr Matibini said gender-based violence was not a family affair but it involved all stakeholders, individuals, families, Government and other leaders.

Clerk of the National Assembly, Doris Mwinga called on MPs and National Assembly staff to reflect on what could be done to eliminate gender-based violence. She said the 16 days of gender activism was significant because it raised awareness on gender-based violence and that the vice was a violation of human rights.

"I hope that this day will go a long way in assisting us to realise the evils of gender-based violence and help change society for the good of our nation," Ms Mwinga said. Meanwhile, the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) has said the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence is an opportunity for women to expose cases of violence.

YWCA Copperbelt coordinator Jurita Mutale said the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence, which started on November 25 and would run up to December 10, was an opportunity for women to expose cases of violence and to discuss other issues such as women's access to land.

Source: Times of Zambia (Lusaka, Zambia)

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