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Anti-GBV court a good move

THE establishment of the anti-gender-based violence (GBV) court in Kabwe signifies that various stakeholders are concerned with the number of GBV cases that continue to be reported.
Opening of the court is long overdue, what with the many GBV cases the country continues to record.
The first-ever GBV court in Zambia is aimed at improving the quality of justice and give adequate redress.
As Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima stated, there has been a marked increase in GBV cases countrywide necessitating the need to put in place proactive measures to improve court procedures and infrastructure to mitigate or eradicate challenges and failures associated with injustice system when it comes to matters of GBV.
The response to establish this court is a sign that stakeholders have been planning behind the scenes on establishing such an important institution.
The stakeholders, which have responded to the special needs of victims of GBV include United Nations Development Programme, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Gender and Women in Law in Southern Africa.
With the establishment of the court, it is hoped that victims will take advantage of such an institution to have their cases fast-tracked unlike in the past were such cases when lumped together with various cases in the courts of law.
It is hoped that the establishment of the court with user-friendly procedures will contribute to the speedy disposal of GBV cases and provide a conducive court environment for victims.
Public awareness is also required for the protection and remedies afforded by the GBV Act Number 1 of 2011, otherwise the effort will remain meaningless in practice.
The success of the GBV court is dependent on the law enforcement agencies as well as the victims themselves. Victims should also be proactive in reporting abuse so that their cases can be heard and the perpetrators of violence face the wrath of the law.
Economic development will not accelerate if one half of the nation continues to be abused by the other and continue to think it is right and acceptable.
It is also worth noting that the court will deal with the various GBV cases committed by both sexes.
As I always emphasise, GBV cases involve both sexes and the court should not be viewed as having been established for women victims only.
Each and every individual has the right to be heard, regardless of sex. My appeal is that the court is not shunned. This is one of the ways that will see a reduction in such cases that have seen some people even lose their lives.
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