Zimbabwe

"I've never engaged in this kind of writing before. I've given my testimonies to other people. But I have never tried to put it on paper for myself so that others can learn from my experiences," says Malawian activist Mirriam Munthali at the first JASS Southern Africa Regional Writeshop.
Linking up at the 20th African Union (AU) Summit, women’s rights lobbyists from across the continent called for an end to all forms of violence against women. At the Pan Africanism and African Renaissance Dialogue, young women issued a statement: “We want a future free of violence against women and girls at all levels and in all spaces.
“In Zimbabwe we are anticipating elections and a referendum in 2013, and previously our experience has been that women face rape and sexual violence in these circumstances,” says Tariro Tandi of the Musasa Project, a JASS partner that focuses on violence against women in Zimbabwe.
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This report, published by The Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ), covers cases of violations experienced by LBT people in Harare and Bulawayo in response to continued attacks on the bodies of Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transwomen and Transmen. Most cases are linked to public participation of LBT people in national and international processes such as 16 Days of Activism and the Constitutional Reform Process. The report also highlights challenges related to discrimination of LBT people and how these impact on establishing a family, accessing education and health for LBT people.
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JASS’ widely-recognizable symbol speaks right to the heart of women across the region. From rural activists in Northern Malawi to young women in Lusaka, the call to “cross the lines” of inequality and oppression rings true. See JASS SNA in action.
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In Zimbabwe, extreme political insecurity, repression and economic instability have made the struggle for women’s rights dangerous, draining and traumatising.
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JASS stands in solidarity with members of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex (LGBTI) community in Zimbabwe in the wake of the most recent incidents of harassment and violence committed by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).
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On August 20th, the Zimbabwe national police occupied the offices of GALZ (Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe) - a close JASS ally - after demanding entry. Officers confiscated publications and computers. This latest assault comes on the tail of nearly two weeks of aggressive harassment of GALZ members by the police in Zimbabwe, where same-sex activity is outlawed.
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Last month, a young woman stepped out of a Harare club for air, and was arrested by a plainclothes policeman on a charge of loitering and soliciting. She spent the night in a cell at the police station. A week later, writer, Tsitsi Dangarembga, was interrogated by police while waiting for friends at a restaurant. In Zimbabwe, women across the spectrum are apprehended nightly by the police under the auspices of the Criminal Law Act (2004), a far reaching tool of government repression covering everything from national security to ‘public morals’. “It’s about policing women’s bodies,” says Winnet Shamuyarira, an activist organizer.
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The F-word, “feminism,” is taboo in some spaces and arouses mistrust and criticism. That was true for Zimbabwean activist and sceptic, Fadzai Muparutsa, who spends her days doing advocacy around the L-word in “LGBTI” – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex.
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