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EU calls for swift action against GBV offenders

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By Anna Chibamu

EUROPEAN Union (EU) ambassador to Zimbabwe, Timo Olkkonen says government should not waste any time in dealing with perpetrators of all forms of gender-based violence (GBV) against women and girls.

He was speaking Friday at the launch of the mobile one stop shop for GBV at Hopely Youth Centre, in Harare South.

Olkkonen said violence, be it in the public or private spheres, constituted a serious violation of women and girls’ rights and was a major obstacle to the achievement of equality between women and men.

“We call upon government of Zimbabwe to act swiftly and decisively against all forms of violence against women and girls, whether committed in the public or private sphere, by individuals or by public officials.

“Government is obliged to do so by the constitution which in section 52 guarantees…freedom from all forms of violence from public or private sources,” said Olkkonen.

The ambassador’s call comes amid reports that one in every three women has faced some form of abuse.

He urged people to strongly condemn GBV and for people to speak out against it.

The mobile GBV One Stop Shop at Hopely Youth Centre will see officials from Police victim friendly unit, Social Welfare and Gender ministries’ officers as well as the Counselling services units of government, UN agencies and other organisations visit the centre three times a week and handle cases of GBV.

“We all need is to stand up, speak out and act against sexual and gender-based violence until it is totally eradicated in our society.

“It is unacceptable and should never be normalised. Ending sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices is a joint responsibility.”

This year’s 16 Days of Activism against GBV has been running under the national theme “Prevention, Protection, Participation and Services: End Gender based Violence!