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Zimbabwe Failing to Protect Women un d Girls

28.04.2024 | Amnesty International: Anna Chibamu

GOVERNMENT has failed in the provision and protection of women and girls’ rights, a human rights organization has said.

In a 2024 report “State of the World’s Human Rights” Amnesty International reported that the Zimbabwean government had not done enough to improve women’s and girls’ rights, particularly in the health and legal sectors.

Although laws had been enacted to protect women and girls’ rights, statistics from the UN Population Fund had shown a dismal failure on the government’s part as these were violated or had some gaps.

“The government failed to take measures to prevent and fully respond to the treatment needs of those suffering from obstetric fistula: Specifically, it did not develop an adequate policy framework or ensure adequate funding for maternal health, despite calls from civil society organizations to do so, and despite the issue being raised in parliament as a matter of national importance,” part of the report read.

It said gaps in the legal framework relating to access to sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents persisted.

“Parliament continued to fail to make the necessary amendments to the Public Health Act to allow health workers to provide sexual and reproductive health services to adolescents without their parent’s consent.

“The cost of essential healthcare services proved prohibitive for many women and girls and there was a failure to provide comprehensive sex education in schools,” said Amnesty International.

According to the human rights defender, teenage pregnancy remained prevalent, with 108 live births per 1,000 women and girls aged between 15 and 19.

Also, the government’s pledge to reduce it to 100 per 1,000 women by 2022 was still unrealized in 2023 whilst maternal mortality remained high, with 462 deaths per 100,000 live births, according to the most recent statistics from the UN Population Fund.

Child marriage was common. An estimated 33% of women between 20 and 24 were first married under 18.

In Parliament,  the August election results did not significantly improve their underrepresentation in decision-making positions.

“Only six of the 26 cabinet members appointed in September were women.

“Of the 70 women who stood for election to National Assembly seats, only 22 were successful, compared to 637 men.”

Most women and girls in marginalized communities suffer in silence with no education given on how to tackle issues concerning their rights.


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