Rotten row magistrate Court calls for violence free society
By Edward Makuzva
The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) in partnership with United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women) illuminated the Rotten Row Magistrates Court in orange – a colour which symbolizes hope and a brighter future, free of violence.
The orange colour also serves as a means of demonstrating solidarity in eliminating all forms of violence and it is therefore used as the colour of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
As part of the commemoration of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence under the global themeOrange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape for 2019, the Harare Magistrates Court joins a list of iconic buildings and monuments that have been lit in orange to call for a violence-free future.
The Rotten Row Magistrates Court represents the largest case load of rape a month that pass through the judicial system. By illuminating the court orange during the 16 Days of Activism, the Judicial Service Commission will send a message of its commitment to deliver timely and victim-friendly justice to cases of rape and other gender-based crimes.
Speaking at the event, UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Maria Ribeiro said, “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.”
This event will also mark the beginning of collaborative efforts between UN Women and the Harare Magistrates Court to display educative information on rape and gender-based crimes through the Court’s broadcasts on every 25th day of the month for the coming one year.
Spaces in which women feel safe are shrinking while gender- blind spots in policy implementation and legislation are threatening women’s security making them vulnerable to rape, assault and killing. The increase in cases of rape, assault and abuse of women has been reported in so many spaces and institutions that include churches, schools and workplaces. This therefore calls foraccelerated cooperation among different stakeholders.
The commissioning of 16 Days at the Harare Magistrates Court is an intervention that falls under the joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative programme in Zimbabwe, which is harnessing the financial commitment of the European Union to the tune of USD 34 million to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls in 23 districts in the provinces of Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West, Manicaland, Matabeleland South, and Harare.
Speaking at the event EU Deputy Ambassador, Mr Thomas von Handel said,“Ending Sexual and Gender Based Violence and harmful practices is a joint responsibility. The EU joins the call to action to act swiftly and decisively act against rape and all other forms of violence against women and girls! 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.”
The Spotlight Initiative is being implemented by the UN in partnership with the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development and civil society organisations. It endeavours to ensure that all women and girls benefit from adequate legislation and policies, gender responsive institutions, violence prevention programmes, essential services, comparable and reliable data, and strong women’s movements and civil society organisations.
16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day.
In support of this campaign, under the leadership of the UN Secretary-General, stakeholders across the world call for global action to increase awareness, galvanize advocacy efforts, and share knowledge and innovations.