CHIPATA, 20th November 2018 – The Judiciary of Zambia and the UN Joint Programme on Gender-Based Violence with financial support from the Governments of Sweden, United Kingdom and Ireland continue to intensify the fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV). Today, Tuesday, 20th November 2018 saw the launch of the fourth GBV court at Chipata, Zambia, the third having been at Mongu on 30th October 2018. The court was officially launched by Hon. Lady Justice Elizabeth Muyovwe, Chairperson of the Advisory Committee on Gender in Development of the Judiciary of Zambia and the United Nations Resident Coordinator Ms. Janet Rogan.
Hon. Justice Muyovwe reiterated the remarks made by the Hon. Deputy Chief Justice during the launch of the GBV court in Mongu that GBV cases seem to be on the increase in Zambia, but that despite the disturbing increase in the statistics, the resolve to continue the in the fight against gender based violence gets stronger by the day, and that the concerted efforts are bearing fruit.
Hon. Justice Muyovwe highlighted the different forms of GBV when she said that “while most people are familiar with the physical aspect of GBV, some are not aware of the other mentioned aspects of GBV. An example of mental, social and economic abuse is child marriage. For these aspects of GBV, the majority of the victims are girls. Child marriage is quite traumatizing on the girl child and robs the child the economic potential the child would have achieved had she continued with her education. And socially, the child is expected to behave as a mature person despite being a child thereby depriving the child of her childhood”.
Her Ladyship said that “on the 10th October, 2018 at page 11, the Times of Zambia carried a story headed “Is it girls or brides for marriage?” In this article, it was reported that Eastern Province of Zambia has the highest rate of 60 per cent of child marriages with Lusaka scoring the lowest at 28 per cent. It was further reported that in March 2016, the Government adopted a five-year national action plan to end child marriage.”
It is important to note that traditional leaders have and are playing a very crucial role in ending not only child marriages but GBV in general and this is much appreciated as they have a lot of influence in our communities.
Gender equality is an integral aspect of the 2030 development agenda – both as a goal (SDG 5) but also as a vital component of achieving progress across all the other sustainable development goals. Therefore, the United Nations and the Government of Zambia has committed to an end to gender-based violence and harmful practices by 2030, the year when the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are due to be achieved. Therefore, rule of law and access to justice as prerequisites in the fight against GBV and the need to uphold them as corner stones of the judicial system. Gender violence is a serious public health concern that also impedes the crucial role of women and girls in development
Two (2) more courts, namely Choma and Ndola are scheduled to be launched before the end of 2018.
“In sub-Saharan Africa, the gender gap is estimated to cost the continent at least USD 95 billion every year (UNDP’s Africa Human Development Report 2016, Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Africa). Gender-based violence has no place in the world we want.”