26 November 2012

Zambia: Minister Wants GBV Fight Intensified

GOVERNMENT has called for more voices in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV) as cases are on the increase.

Gender and Child Development Minister Inonge Wina said in Lusaka yesterday that more organisations and individuals should join in the fight against GBV to effectively address the vice.

Statistics from the Zambia Police's Victim Support Unit indicate that the country has recorded 9, 612 GBV cases this year alone, a figure which could surpass last year's cases of 11, 908.

The country recorded 8,261 cases in 2009 and the figure increased to 8, 467 cases in 2010.

Ms Wina said this in Lusaka yesterday during the launch of 16 Days of Activism against GBV held at the Lusaka Show grounds, which saw women from different backgrounds and organisations take part in a march past ahead of the event.

This year's event is being commemorated under the theme "Gender Based Violence: Zero Tolerance Now."

"Increasing numbers of GBV in Zambia are alarming and require urgent action not only from the Government but the entire nation but I want to assure the nation that Government will act swiftly at any given time," Ms Wina said.

She said it was Government responsibility to protect the lives of people especially women and children from perpetrators of gender violence.

She said calls by women groups on the need to implement Anti-GBV Act number one of 2011, among other remedial measures, were justified.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) assistant resident representative Sibeso Muluma in a message from the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said the UN system was encouraged by the steps Government had taken in launching the GRZ/ UN joint programme on GBV.

She said millions of women and children around the world were assaulted, beaten, raped, mutilated or even murdered in what constitutes appalling violations of their human rights.

"Up to 70 per cent of women experience physical or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime from the battlefield to home, streets, at school or workplace and as well as the community, yet perpetrators go unpunished.

She called on all governments to make good on their pledges to end all forms of violence against women and girls.

Non-Governmental Organisations Coordinating Council (NGOCC) chairperson Beatrice Grillo said the country had experienced an unprecedented increase in the number of violent cases against women and children.

She said this year's them e should not just remain a theme, but must be demonstrated in the Government policies and programmes.

Human Rights Commission (HRC) chairperson Pixie Yangailo said traditional norms, religions and customary attitudes were at the centre of continued GBV.

Ms Yangailo said every year's commemoration should be an opportunity not just to bemoan the extent of the problem but an occasion to revise how much progress the stakeholders were making.

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