from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE Zimbabwean judiciary has pledged to deliver timely and victim-friendly justice to cases of rape and other gender-based crimes.
This solidarity forms part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, an annual international campaign that kicks off yearly on November 25.
The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) in partnership with United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women), on Wednesday illuminated the Rotten Row Magistrates Court in orange, a colour said to symbolize hope and a brighter, violence-free future.
This is in line with the global theme, “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape.”
The Rotten Row Magistrates Court in Harare represents the largest case load of rape a month that pass through the judicial system.
“Without the courts following through with their legislated mandate of swift justice, by enforcing sentencing and ensuring access to the court systems especially for cases of rape and sexual violence, we shall continue to experience the unfortunate impact,” said Maria Ribeiro, the UN Resident Coordinator.
The commissioning of 16 Days at the Harare Magistrates Court is an intervention that falls under the joint European Union (EU)-UN Spotlight Initiative programme in Zimbabwe.
It is harnessing the financial commitment of the EU to the tune of US$34 million to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls in 23 districts in the provinces of Harare, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West, Manicaland and Matabeleland South.
Thomas von Handel, EU Deputy Ambassador, said ending sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices is a joint responsibility.
He said the EU joined the call to action to act swiftly and decisively act against rape and all other forms of violence.
“We must put an end to all kinds of abuse to reach equality and peace and protect the human rights of millions of women and girls,” von Handel said.
– CAJ News