VIOLET MENGO, Lusaka
FIRST Lady Esther Lungu has called for protection of human rights of women and girls for them to effectively contribute to sustainable development.
The First Lady made the call when she addressed delegates to the 60th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW60) on Thursday during a high-level meeting titled, â€œAfricaâ€™s Year of Human Rights with a particular focus on the Rights of Women: Opportunities and Challengesâ€ .
The meeting was jointly convened by the United Nationsâ€™ Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA) and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
This is contained in a statement issued by first secretary for press and public relations at the Permanent Mission of Zambia to the United Nations, Chibaula Silwamba.
Mrs Lungu said the continued neglect to recognise the immense contributions women make to the family unit which remain unsalaried, unquantified and unappreciated must be confronted head-on.
â€œLand tenure, child marriage, negative cultural practices, work place evils against women, the modern day slavery of trafficking in women and sexual exploitation, all require stringent and practical measures to expediently zero rate them.
â€œWe have to adopt some of the football rules like coming up with a red card campaign against these vices,â€ said Mrs Lungu.
The First Lady encouraged women around the globe to assert themselves and stand up to be recognised and also ably exercise their rights as well as ensure that their voices are heard.
â€œI can share firsthand experience through my interactions with women at all levels that the female fraternity is more than ready to push the sustainable development agenda forward. But without womenâ€™s rights, it will be a protracted journey,â€ Mrs Lungu said.
The First Lady said the non-domestication of international, regional and sub-regional instruments continue to sabotage womenâ€™s inclusion in the sustainable development agenda.
She told the gathering that Zambia has taken the opportunity to accelerate womenâ€™s rights by amending the Constitution to incorporate gender equity and equality in line with international, regional and sub-regional instruments on gender.
â€œFollowing the amendment of the Constitution in January, this year Government established the Gender Equality Commission with the mandate to monitor, investigate, educate, research and advice on issues of gender equity and equality,â€ said Mrs Lungu.
Moderator of the high-level meeting, and OHCHR assistant secretary general for Human RightsÂ Â Ivan Å imonovic commended the First Lady for her leadership in championing womenâ€™s issues.
VIOLET MENGO, Lusaka