via Call for commission | The Herald 8 December 2014 by Diana Nherera
A local non-governmental organisation, Women and Law in Southern Africa Research and Education Trust Zimbabwe (WLSA) has called for the urgent setting up of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission that will look at issues of gender equality.
The Bill which provides for the creation of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission is still before Parliament.
WLSA said this as part of its message to mark the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence commemorations which started on November 25 and end on December 10.
The commemorations are running under the theme: “Peaceful Homes and Peaceful Communities; Promoting Safe Spaces for Women and Girls”.
WLSA national director Ms Sylvia Chirawu said the Zimbabwe Gender Commission was set up in terms of Chapter 12 of the 2013 Constitution.
According to Chapter 12 (Section 246) of the 2013 Constitution, the functions of the commission include monitoring issues concerning gender equality to ensure gender equality is provided in the Constitution.
The commission will investigate possible violations of gender rights.
It will receive and consider complaints from the public and take action as the commission considers appropriate.
“The Zimbabwe Gender Commission can conduct research into issues relating to gender and social justice and to recommend changes to laws and practices which lead to discrimination based on gender.
“It can recommend affirmative action programmes to achieve gender equality and recommend prosecution for criminal violations of rights relating to gender,” read the 2013 constitution.
Another function of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission is to secure appropriate redress where gender rights have been violated.
It will also be mandated to do anything necessary to promote gender equality.
She added that the Zimbabwe Gender Commission would help in conducting research on gender justice and recommend changes to laws and practices of gender discrimination.
“The Zimbabwe Gender Commission can also recommend prosecution for criminal violations of rights related to gender.
“This mandate means that the interventions of the Gender Commission can result in some significant changes and go a step further than the current responses,” said Ms Chirawu.