Zambia Committed To Protecting Women’s Rights
THE Zambian Government has assured the United Nations (UN) that it is committed to protecting and promoting women’s rights and curbing gender-based violence in the country.
By KANGWA MULENGA
Addressing the UN third committee on Tuesday in New York, Zambia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Mwaba Kasese-Bota, said Government wanted to reduce gender inequalities in the country.
Dr Kasese-Bota said government would continue to amend legislation to strengthen the protective environment of women and girls.
“All the eight millennium development goals are inherently and uniquely dependent on inclusive and equitable advancement of women’s rights as well as women’s unequivocal participation in policy decisions and strategic implementation of the development agenda,” she said.
This is according to a statement issued by first secretary for press and public relations at the Zambian mission to the UN in New York Chibaula Silwamba yesterday.
Ambassador Dr Kasese-Bota informed the UN committee that over the last one year, President Sata has appointed several women to head key institutions, including the Judiciary, Police Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) among others.
She said the UN-initiated MDGs would fall short of the expected outcome as the womenfolk continue to suffer various physical, social and economic inhibitions.
“As the international community was formulating the post-2015 Development Agenda, Zambia hoped for a stronger response to advance women empowerment to ensure an all-inclusive and equality growth to attain the aspirations of the future we want,” Dr Kasese-Bota said.
Zambia in 2000 formulated the National Gender Policy, which is being used to reduce gender disparities and improve the status of women and girls.
She said in 2011, the Zambian Government established the Ministry of Gender and Child Development to prioritise the advancement of women and strengthen the capacity to influence decision-making at the highest level on matters pertaining to gender equality and children.
The envoy cited the Anti-Gender-Based violence Act and the Anti-Human Trafficking Act, which complement the women empowerment agenda.
Dr Kasese-Bota said President Sata established the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health, which places women at the centre of community development, and aims to provide holistic and integrated health services for women and girls as close to the family as possible, as well as other social protection services.
“The continued marginalisation of the female gender perpetuates the vulnerability of individuals and poverty in our societies, but Zambia is committed to redressing this imbalance,” Dr Kasese-Bota said.
She expressed concern that womenfolk continue to lag behind in decision-making, political participation, and in accessing and controlling of productive resources despite constituting over 60 per cent of the productive work force.
The envoy noted that the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, is concerned that violence against women and girls is on the rise globally.
Dr Kasese-Bota said women have continued to be exploited as they are subjected to vices such as human trafficking and used as couriers of drugs.
She also informed the UN Committee that the Zambian government has prioritised the domestication of human rights conventions, and the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women.