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Statement on 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence and Human Rights Day
Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU)
December 10, 2010

The 16 days of Activism against gender based violence is a perennial international campaign which began in 1991 by the Centre for Women's Global Leadership. The main aim is to identify women and children's rights and take them as fundamental rights and violation of these rights is also violation of human rights. Gender based violence in all its different forms is incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person and must be eliminated.

Gender violations come in the form of child marriage, wife beating, dowry related violence, sexual violence and many others. To be particular in the tertiary education sector female students are prone to sexual harassment by lecturers and other older man in exchange for academic favours or money for sustainance. The number of victimised students and illegal arrests observed in the past years has sharply increased . Psychological abuse by members of the state security is a major drawback to female student participation in student activism thus an obstacle to gender equality and genuine human progress. Lack of knowledge financial resources, economic dependency and negative stereo types contributes work also as barriers to full and equal participation of females in the institutional structures.

The 16 days of activism effectively come to an end today the 10th of December the day when the world commemorates the International Human Rights Day. These commemorations come at a time when students and Zimbabweans at large are enduring gross human rights violations from an inclusive government that proclaimed to be a messiah at consummation. Thousands of students have been denied their right to education in the past year due to the introduction of discriminatory fees by the inclusive government. The student activists who dared stand up to challenge the commodification of education fall victim of suspensions and expulsion from the Mugabe appointed Vice- Chancellors. Medication in hospitals still remains a preserve for the few who can be able to pay for consultation and prescribed drugs. There is little or no progress in repealing apartheid laws that violates the declaration of rights, like the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA). The rumour of elections has seen an upsurge in political violence and the nation is likely to witness the 27 June 2008 fiasco where hundreds lost limbs and lives.

This year's theme on the 16 days of activism "Structures of violence: Defining the intersections of militarism and violence against women" comes at a time ZINASU is calling for an end to those who perpetrate violence against women. Taking in particular the lecturers who seek sexual favours from female students, the government which has commercialised the education sector making the female student more vulnerable to being a college dropout and exposed to unfavourable sexual activities. ZINASU is also calling for partnership of males and females to collectively fight for gender based violence .Women should be given a platform to fully and meaningfully participate in development processes and in areas of decision making. Organisations should create awareness of human rights and also try to find strategies on how to claim them.

ZINASU condemns the shameful attempt to block the passing of the pro-poor 2011 budget by greed and selfish Parliamentarians who are demanding unrealistic perks. The budget is set to improve access to health and education by the generality of our citizens. The Union also demand the repealing of all apartheid laws and the upholding of all just laws.

Meanwhile ZINASU is set to hold a human Rights dialogue on Sunday 12 December in the rural areas of Mhondoro to educate the folks of their Rights and encourage them to defend their rights.

Visit the ZINASU fact sheet

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