UN Committee on CEDAW Recommendations on Access to Justice for Women to Zimbabwe: 75th Session (10 - 28 February 2020)

As we celebrate women’s month I thought it was prudent to share recommendations by the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Convention of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to Zimbabwe during its 75th session that was held from 10 - 28 February 2020 in Geneva, Switzerland. The recommendations shared here are an extract from the Committee’s Concluding Observations on ‘Access to Justice.’

Access to justice

'The Committee welcomes the decentralization process of the Directorate of Legal Aid in all provinces, undertaken by the State party, in order to provide free legal assistance to individuals. It is, however, concerned that the provision of free legal aid is somehow delegated to non-governmental organizations, and that the legal aid centres established thus far by the Legal Aid Directorate needs to meet minimum standards of service deliver

In line with its general recommendation No. 33 (2015) on women’s access to justice, the Committee recommends that the State party:

Expedite the creation of legal aid centres at district level, and strengthen standards for service delivery at all levels, and ensure that legal aid is available and accessible to all women, in particular women living in poverty, rural women and women with disabilities, including through the provision of procedural and age-appropriate accommodations;

Provide adequate funding to non-governmental organizations that provide free legal aid to women without sufficient means, thereby filling a gap in the legal aid system of the State party;

Sensitise the judiciary and law enforcement officials on the provision of the Convention and raise public awareness, in particular women, on ways and means to invoke it.’

The full report and the State party’s submissions cane be viewed here: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=1380&Lang=en

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Hi, How can I help you? I am from South Africa.

In order to expedite Family Law matters at court, that include Children Court, Domestic Violence and Divorces, mediation was introduced as a tool in order to lighten the court roll. It is not as intense as litigation and the parties are not bound by legalities or just the facts of the matter - the parties can air their differences in a controlled environment and once an agreement is reached, the outcome form part of the legal process as it form part of the judgment and is binding on the parties. Since we followed the alternative path, we had a decrease in not only the court roll, but we could also address underlying problems such as low self esteem and job loss that led to alcoholism and ultimately gender based violence.

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