South Africa: Minister Zulu to Lead Walk Against Gender-Based Violence

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu will on Friday lead a human rights walk against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF).

The walk coincides with Human Rights Month which is observed annually in South Africa.

The month-long observation seeks to remind South Africans about the sacrifices that accompanied the struggle for the attainment of freedom and democracy that the country enjoys today.

As part of this year’s Human Rights Month programme, which is celebrated under the theme “The Year of Charlotte Maxeke: Promoting Human Rights in the Age of COVID-19”, Zulu will lead the walk from Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, Johannesburg, to the Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg.

In a statement on Wednesday, the department said that the walk aims to raise awareness about gender-based violence as a gross violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of women and girls who are entitled to the full enjoyment of their rights free from any form of violence.

“South Africa has one of the highest GBV rates in the world, with the femicide rate that is reportedly five times higher than the global average (Stats SA, 2018). One need not look any further than the recent crime statistics released by the South African Police Service, which revealed a five percent increase in reported sexual offences between October-December 2020.

“These violations took place as the country was under the national lockdown to contain the spread of [the] Coronavirus. The very fact that women and girls live in fear of violence in their own homes where they are supposed to feel safe and protected, especially in the midst of a devastating global pandemic is an affront to their human rights,” the department said.