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WOMEN'S UN REPORT NETWORK - WUNRN ZIMBABWE GIRLS & WOMEN - FROM CRISES TO PEACE United Nations Human Rights Council June 3, 2009 Geneva, Switzerland.

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Presentation on theme: "WOMEN'S UN REPORT NETWORK - WUNRN ZIMBABWE GIRLS & WOMEN - FROM CRISES TO PEACE United Nations Human Rights Council June 3, 2009 Geneva, Switzerland."— Presentation transcript:

1 WOMEN'S UN REPORT NETWORK - WUNRN ZIMBABWE GIRLS & WOMEN - FROM CRISES TO PEACE United Nations Human Rights Council June 3, 2009 Geneva, Switzerland


3 WUNRN Zimbabwe: The Feminine Face of Violence & Conflict A Zimbabwean woman with her child on her back flees across the border into South Africa at Beitbridge Border Post in Musina, South Africa. More than 1,000 people every day are fleeing Zimbabwe for South Africa.



6 WUNRN Zimbabwe - Desperate Children Flee - Humanitarian Crisis Report - Gender Zimbabwe - Desperate Children Flee, For Lives Just as Bleak – Girls Aldah Mawuka, 17, said the first gumagumas she encountered only robbed her; the second demanded that she pull down her jeans. The rapist was very direct and impatient, she recalled: “If you don't do it, I'll kill you.” Photo: Joao Silva for The New York Times MUSINA, South Africa — They bear the look of street urchins, their eyes on theSouth Africa prowl for useful scraps of garbage and their bodies covered in clothes no cleaner than a mechanic’s rags. Near midnight, these Zimbabwean children can be found sleeping outside almost anywhere in this border city. A 12-year-old girl named No Matter Hungwe, hunched beneath the reassuring exterior light of the post office, said it was hunger that had pushed her across the border alone. With their nation in a prolonged sequence of crises, more unaccompanied children and women than ever are joining the rush of desperate Zimbabweans illegally crossing the frontier at the Limpopo River, according to the police, local officials and aid workers.



9 KEY UN DOCUMENTS ON CHILDREN & ARMED CONFLICT Key documents for the protection of children in armed conflict Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (2000)Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (1998) International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour (1999)Convention 182 African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the African Child (1999) African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the African Child Geneva Conventions (1949) and Additional Protocol I & Additional Protocol II (1977)Additional Protocol IAdditional Protocol II Security Council resolutions 1261 (1999), 1314 (2000), 1379 (2001), 1460 (2003), 1539 (2004), 1612 (2005)resolutions1261 (1999)1314 (2000)1379 (2001)1460 (2003)1539 (2004)1612 (2005) Paris Principles (2007) Paris Principles Machel 10 Year Strategic Review (2007) - Part two of A/62/228; follow up to the Landmark "The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children" A/51/306 (1996) Machel 10 Year Strategic ReviewThe Impact of Armed Conflict on Children

10 WUNRN Zimbabwe - Girl Child Network News – Political & Economic Crises Put Girls At Great Risk Zimbabwe - Girl Child Network - Newsflash November 2008 Political and Economic Crises Put Girls at Great Risk We bring this In Touch Newsflash because now more than ever, the lives of girls in Zimbabwe need consistent reportage and monitoring because with the current hostile political and economic situation the girls are at greatest risk of abuse.Girl Child Network being the only organisation working at grassroots level and targeting the most vulnerable girls in Zimbabwe brings you news that you do not normally hear.




14 WUNRN Zimbabwe - Virginity Testing 9 September 2005 ZIMBABWE - VIRGINITY TESTING WIDELY PRACTICED Zimbabwe - Imagine being Rudo (not her real name), a 16-year-old girl living in an area of Zimbabwe where girls are tested for virginity. Rudo's turn to be examined comes. An elderly woman asks her to lie down, opens her legs, and then examines her using a finger - which has been inserted in other girls' private parts that day - to see if she is still a virgin. How does Rudo feel? Unfortunately, the practice of virginity testing has been resuscitated over the years, with people claiming that it preserves African identity and culture. Various groups - sometimes ethnic groups, churches, or families - perform virginity testing in Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, and other African countries. Girls as young as five years old may be tested. If a girl is found to be a non-virgin, the payment for her as a bride will be lower, or a man may refuse to marry her. Even if the man agrees to marry her, the girl and her family are often shamed and ridiculed.

15 WUNRN Zimbabwe - Girls' Forced Marriages - Hunger - Rights 17 May 2006 Zimbabwe - Hunger Forces Zimbabwe Girls into Forced Marriages Tariro Muchina was barely in her teens late last year when her father "sold" her off into an arranged marriage in the small-scale farming district of Nyamajura, about 250km east of the Zimbabwean capital, Harare. Twelve months down the line, the 14-year-old Muchina, who was literally dragged screaming all the way into "marriage", appears to have come to terms with her fate. "I had to leave school to marry this man despite his age... My father insisted that I do it to save my younger brothers and sisters from hunger," Muchina says, opening up only after much persuasion. Muchina is married to a balding and pot-bellied 65-year-old man who has some teeth missing but owns a grocery shop -- an immensely important factor in this hunger- and poverty-stricken community.

16 WUNRN Zimbabwe - Daughters Fetch High Prices as Brides - Dowry - Bride-Price ZIMBABWE: Daughters Fetch High Prices As Brides HARARE, 17 July 2007 (IRIN) – Daughters have become a high-priced commodity in Zimbabwe, where a dowry has become a means of escaping poverty in a rapidly declining economy. "When people are mired in such hunger as we have been seeing in this country for over seven years, they will do anything to survive," Innocent Makwiramiti, a Harare-based economist, told IRIN.rapidly declining economy Parents have taken to demanding "absurd" amounts of money and other commodities from their in-laws. "It is not surprising that many parents are looking to the bride-price as one way to make ends meet," he said. The dowry, a cultural practice, "has ceased to be a social problem and now needs to be seen from an economic point of view, with girl children being used to generate income," Makwiramiti said. "Unless the economic meltdown is addressed, we will continue to see parents commodifying their daughters." Most Zimbabweans are struggling to survive: unemployment is out of control, inflation has topped 4,000 percent, and 80 percent of the population is living below the poverty datum line.

17 WUNRN Zimbabwe - Women's Life Expectancy Low - 34 Zimbabwe: Womens’ Life Expectancy Among World's Lowest - 34 February 28, 2007 AIDS epidemic and failed government policies are blamed for women’s plummeting life expectancy. By Roselyn Godobori in Harare (AR No. 97, 27-Feb-07) At 18, Abigail Murewa is already a mother. She has no income and dropped out of school before completing the basic eleven years of schooling. Her pretty face and her direct stare haunt anyone who looks at her and the malnourished baby strapped on her back. One thing is certain: she is likely to be dead by the time her son is aged just 16. According to the United Nations' World Health Organisation, WHO, the life expectancy of Zimbabwean women by early 2006 was only 34 years, down from 36 in 2004 and 62 in 1990. Thirty-four: an age where women in stable democracies are thinking about careers, starting families, or buying homes. While they look towards their bright futures, Zimbabwean women face only a painful cruel death.

18 WUNRN Zimbabwe - Dignity! Period.- Campaign Addresses Serious Need of Feminine Hygiene Supplies Zimbabwe - Dignity! Period. - Campaign Addresses Serious Need of Feminine Hygiene Supplies for Girls and Women of Zimbabwe Zimbabwe - May 21, 2008 - Since launching Dignity! Period. in 2005/6, ACTSA in solidarity with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has distributed more than 5 million sanitary pads to the women and girls of Zimbabwe. ACTSA is pleased to announce that 4.6 million products were delivered all over Zimbabwe in 2007. The economic crisis in Zimbabwe now means that ordinary woman are unable to afford basic sanitary protection. With inflation topping 6000%, just one pack of sanitary pads costs more than 50% of the average monthly wage for women in Zimbabwe. Faced with such economic adversity, manufacturers of sanitary products have fled Zimbabwe, compounding the shortages. Just £10 (UK) would provide one woman with sanitary products for one yearJust £10 (UK) would provide one woman with sanitary products for one year.


20 WUNRN Poem on The Orphan Girl - Rape Survivors: Rights Approach Poem by Hazviperi Betty Makoni, Founder& Director of Girl Child Network, Zimbabwe POEM DEDICATED TO A ZIMBABWE ORPHAN GIRL The last time I saw her Yes indeed I do recall The very last time I saw her She was in tattered clothes She had her rough feet in cold sand Her eyes were tearful So was everything round her Tears of sorrow, having lost both father and mother. She looked at me and I looked at her She stared at me, I stared at her We both almost dropped tears The girl was a vendor A vendor on the most risky places Braai place by the pub She sold some salads In the middle of the night Risky, very risky, indeed very very risky I looked at all those drunk men She is easy prey, I thought How on earth would she resist sexual slavery I cursed mother earth for being cruel An innocent orphaned girl turned vendor Grandma and Aunt said unless she fends For her siblings, two brothers and sisters Then she should not come home. I asked everything, she told me everything She asked me everything, I told her everything I looked at her, she looked at me I stared at her, she stared at me Poor, disadvantaged, vulnerable girl No shelter from rain, no warmth from cold I whispered to myself, future woman of tomorrow I will follow up with her so that she too Walks in the fullness of her potential.

21 WUNRN Zimbabwe - WOZA Report Examines Suppression of Women's Political Voices - Human Rights Defenders 2008-03-24 A Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) Report on Suppression of Women's Political Voices - Women's Human Rights Defenders Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) launched a report detailing the political violence experienced by their members in Harare on Wednesday 19 March 2008 at an event attended by diplomats, civic society leaders and members of WOZA and MOZA. The report is entitled "The effects of fighting repression WITH LOVE". The report is a result of research conducted by WOZA on what violations its members have gone through as women human rights defenders and who the perpetrators of these abuses are. The report was launched to make public the findings and to urgently draw attention to the risks faced by women activists as Zimbabwe braces itself for an election. It is intended that those who read the report will be motivated to take action to remedy the damage done to millions of people's lives by a violent dictatorship.

22 WUNRN Zimbabwe - Video - Confronting Rape on Zimbabwe's Border As some women flee from political chaos and economic collapse in Zimbabwe, waiting for them on both sides of the border are gumagumas, men who offer themselves as guides but are actually rapists.

23 WUNRN Zimbabwe Crisis: A Gender Perspective AWID interviews Shereen Essof, a Zimbabwean feminist living in Cape Town, and Thoko Matshe, a feminist, women's rights activist and poet - about how gender compounds the already appalling social and political spheres inside Zimbabwe. AWID: The Mugabe regime has all but destroyed Zimbabwe. With reportedly the world's highest inflation rate and lowest life expectancy rate - how do these shocking statistics translate when it comes to Zimbabwe's women? Shereen Essof (SE): What do we expect life to be like for women in a country where inflation is 300 000%? Where everyday is a struggle for survival? Where you cannot get food, you have to hunt for basic commodities, there is no fuel, and the health care system is so eroded there is no basic medication let alone anything else? Electricity and water cuts sometimes last weeks, you cannot get your own money out of the bank, imperialist agendas are so rife that the gap between the small elite and the poor is unbridgeable, militarism and fear runs rife, and sexism and violence against women is always just around the corner. Everyday is a struggle not to live, but to survive.

24 WUNRN Zimbabwe - Starving Children - Acute Malnutrition Crisis for The Girl Child Children in Zimbabwe are eating rats and inedible roots riddled with toxic parasites to stave off hunger because of chronic food shortages, an aid agency said on Thursday. Save the Children said the most vulnerable faced starvation unless they get food aid in the next couple of weeks. "The rising malnutrition and the rise in diseases are going to mean that children will die and we have to act very fast," said Sarah Jacobs, a spokeswoman for the relief group. The United Nations had said previously that more than 5 million people in Zimbabwe would need food aid by early next year after a poor harvest compounded by economic turmoil. Jacobs said many people in the Zambezi Valley, the poorest and driest area, were now surviving on a vile-tasting, fibrous root called makuri. "It's got no nutritional value whatsoever. It tastes disgusting and it also has a parasite which attaches to it which is toxic," said Jacobs, who has just returned from the region.

25 WUNRN Zimbabwe Crisis Human Rights Watch Report Crisis without Limits Human Rights and Humanitarian Consequences of Political Repression in Zimbabwe January 22, 2009 This 33-page report details the Zimbabwe humanitarian crisis. A cholera epidemic has left over 2,000 Zimbabweans dead and another 39,000 ill. Over 5 million Zimbabweans face severe food shortages and are dependent on international aid. The main victims of the health crisis in Zimbabwe are the elderly, children, women, and the chronically ill, including people living with HIV/AIDS. Many district hospitals and municipal clinics are currently either closed or operating at minimum capacity. a Thus, ordinary Zimbabweans cannot access basic healthcare. The closure of maternity hospitals will result in many poor women being denied emergency treatment, and may further contribute to the already rising maternal mortality rates. Private hospitals charge for their services in foreign currency, pricing out most Zimbabwe people.

26 WUNRN Zimbabwe Rape Survivors Association Betty Makoni, Founder & Director of the Girl Child Network in Zimbabwe, recently launched the Zimbabwe Rape Survivors Association (ZRPS), Zimbabwe Rape Survivors Association The Situation for Women and Girl Rape Survivors Zimbabwean women and girls have been at pains and looking for a platform and forum to break silence on politically motivated sexual violence. During the war of liberation they were used as sex objects whose importance were to serve Zimbabwean soldiers at any time they would have been commanded to do so. Sexual Violence in Zimbabwe dates back to the liberation war before 1980 where militia bases existed where horrible stories of sexual violence are being told in women’s circles even to date with many women who were gang raped then not able to tell their children who impregnated them. No one case has been exposed and brought to book. During the Gukurahundi which was again state sponsored violence directed towards the minority Ndebele people and to date hundreds of women tell stories of having been used as sex objects.


28 WUNRN Zimbabwe - Poem: The Girl Child - Girl Child Network “The Girl Child” They regard us as special, Yet they abuse us culturally. We are the slaves of the home, We cook, clean the house, And look after children. We are never given the chance to go to school. We are used to appease the evil spirits. We are forced to marry in times of hunger. But why the girl child and not the boy child? Parents, you need to change your attitude towards girls. Give us equal opportunities And we will prove you wrong. Parents, if you educate a girl You educate a nation. We need our nation to be educated. Sarah, Age 10 Mureverwi, Chihota

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