25 Nov 2019

The ZCTU leadership, General Council Members, Affiliate Leadership, ZCTU Structures, Workers of Zimbabwe, Civic Society and Community leaders here present, I want to welcome you all to this very important occasion. ZCTU today joins the rest of the world in the fight against Gender Based Violence. The commemoration takes place from 25 November to 10 December every year and it is a time to join forces and strengthen our fight to eliminate this serious crime to humanity.
The labour movement stands here as the voice of the voiceless and this is reflected in our theme: “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Violence and Harassment at Work” ZCTU theme says it all comrades, as champions of human and workers’ rights, we stand for peace and dignity through elimination of violence and harassment. We stand for those workers who are suffering in silence because they are afraid, or they are oppressed. We leave No person behind comrades, because we stand for equality, decent work and equal treatment of all persons.
Gender Based Violence involves the abuse of power and control over another person and it is perpetrated against someone based on their gender identity or status. In most cases the marginalised groups particularly women and children are the most affected. Violence is also prevalent in the workplace in the form of sexual harassment, discrimination and economic violence. Besides workplace violence, there are other forms of violence such as domestic and spousal abuses. These have an indirect impact to the workplace as the victim’s performance at work, concentration and productivity will be affected once he or she falls victim to such abuses.
I would not have done justice comrades if I don’t mention political violence which has left people dead and caused trauma and suffering to the affected victims and their families. Gone are the days when the law enforcement agents were a source of security and comfort to the citizens. Instead our children see them and they have to run for their lives.
This event therefore aims to promote critical reflection among ZCTU Affiliates, Structures and Partners, to create an understanding of gender based violence and its contributions to inequality in Zimbabwe and the world over.It is also an opportunity to critically analyse other forms of violations that hinder the development of men, young leaders and women in our country and indeed in our organisations.We must champion the cause for the complete elimination of violence. The negative stigma associated with being a victim of any form of gender based violence is an experience that we all never want to go through.
It is therefore our role as a trade union movement to work together with civic society organisations and other stakeholders to eliminate violence and harassment. We have a duty to lobby for gender sensitive laws that protect all persons from gender based violence especially the vulnerable groups. Zimbabwe is party to regional and international instruments which we have signed and ratified as a country and thus have an obligation to domesticate and implement.
As we reflect comrades let us remember to monitor and document all cases of gender based violence and report them in order to defend the rights of the victims. This campaign is important to protect and promote our fundamental human rights as enshrined in the Zimbabwe Constitution and indeed regional and international instruments. We must generate an increased level of awareness in order to succeed in eliminating this pandemic which seriously hinders development of any society.
Lastly I would like to urge you all to support our campaign for the ratification of the ILO Convention number 190 on Violence and Harassment in the world of work. The convention is strong, inclusive and protects all workers regardless of your contract of employment, whether formal or informal. The convention presents an opportunity for us as a country to address the serious challenges facing us which emanate from violence, lawlessness and lack of political tolerance. Ladies and Gentlemen, today marks the official launch of our Campaign for the Ratification of C190. The ZCTU Women’s Committee calls upon the Government to ratify Convention190 and strengthen our legislation to protect women, children, People with Disabilities, youths and all other vulnerable groups from being abused.
On this note and on behalf of the ZCTU Women’s Committee, Leadership and General Council, I would like to wish you all a successful commemoration. May we all be conscious and take the first step to report any forms of violence and harassment.
I thank you.


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