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commemorates International Women’s Day
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
March 08, 2013
On the day of
commemorating the International Women’s Day under the theme;
Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
(ZLHR) takes opportunity to reflect on progress made so far in promoting
and protecting the rights of women (including women living with
HIV). ZLHR reiterates the importance of promoting and protecting
of women’s rights through programmes and policy that facilitate
the meaningful enjoyment of these rights by all women including
women living with HIV who bear the burden of the disease in the
families and communities.
concerned at the violation of rights of women as evidenced by the
continued use of force by the police against, and arrests of, peaceful
women protesters. This on-going practice of arrests against the
activists seriously hampers their right to freedom of expression,
association and assembly, which are essential components of democracy.
ZLHR in its
work is continuing to empower the women to stand for their rights
so as to enjoy the freedoms and entitlements due to them as much
as everyone else. Emphasis has been and continues to be on advocating
for the inclusion of the right to health in the new constitution.
This has been informed by the fact that the right to health and
most particular the right to sexual and reproductive health entitles
HIV-positive women to access treatment, care and health related
services necessary for them to maintain a status where they can
pursue their daily activities, and to prevent mother-to-child transmission.
Specifically ZLHR notes that:
- The women
especially positive women still struggle to access medical care
when they are pregnant. This has unnecessarily increased the danger
of the women transmitting the virus to the new born babies.
- Women continue
to be disproportionately infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.
More than half of all people living with HIV are women, and women
continue to be at high risk of HIV infection and of related rights
women are still at risk of being arrested under the Section 79
of the Criminal
Law Codification and Reform Act, where HIV is criminalized
and women are at a greater risk of being arrested as they visit
the health care systems more often than their male counterparts.
Furthermore, they are obliged to get tested for HIV when they
are pregnant which adversely impacts on them when the blame of
who infected who is made.
In this regard,
ZLHR therefore calls on the Zimbabwean government to:
adequate information, means and services for HIV-positive women
to take measures to maintain good health as is reasonably possible
to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
efforts towards raising more funds for the healthcare system.
Make sure that funding is availed to ensure the access of medication
and treatment by women especially for their maternal health.
- Show commitment
to their duty to respect, protect and fulfill basic human rights
as an important effort towards universal access and highest attainable
standard of health for all and more particular for women.
- Reform laws
that are out-dated and those that blatantly violate the rights
of those living with, affected by or vulnerable to the HIV/AIDS
epidemic. Including the reforming of the Section 79 of the Criminal
Law Codification and Reform Act which criminalizes HIV and mostly
seen targeting women.
the rights to freedom of association, assembly and expression
without fear of persecution, arrest and intimidation.
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