Statement by the Secretary General for the GBV Model Law – Validation Meeting with Joint Sittings of the RWPC and Standing Committees, on 16th September 2021 Featured
Honourable Members and distinguished participants, Mr Stanley Nyamanhindi- Chief Executive Director of the SADC Lawyers Association;
Ms Eva Jhala our distinguished Draftsperson. Members of the Media;
Members of the TWG, here present;
Colleagues from SADC PF and National Parliaments
It is with immense pleasure that I greet you today at this validation meeting of the SADC Model Law on GBV with MPs of the Regional Women Parliamentary Caucus and other relevant Standing Committees of the Forum. Just a few days ago, we have wrapped up the stakeholder consultations, and the speed with which we have progressed to refine the Model law and finalise all draft provisions is commendable.
We have come a long way and have made commendable strides. Today marks yet another important milestone in the review and consultative process of the SADC Model Law on GBV as we are submitting the Model Law after consultations duly made to the consideration of the RWPC and other Standing Committees of the Forum. Accordingly, it is today that the Model Law will garner inter- parliamentary consideration and approval at the level of the Forum. After this intervention session, and several, the last step would then be to table the Model Law on GBV to the 50th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC-PF.
Why is the consultation meeting with SADC PF MPs important?
I wish to highlight that today, this Session constitutes a crucial step because it is indeed the RWPC and other Standing Committees which initiated the thrust to develop a SADC Model Law on GBV. Over the years, the RWPC has been on the frontline to implement initiatives that aim to prevent discrimination on the basis of gender. The first-ever Women’s Parliament in Seychelles in 2017, the Gender Responsive Oversight Model (GROM), gender mainstreaming and gender-based budgeting, are all initiatives that emanate from the ardent efforts of the RWPC as well as other Committees such as the Gender Equality, Women Advancement and Youth Development Committee (GEWAYD), and the Human and Social Development and Special Programmes Committee (HSDSP).
Finally, with GBV becoming more and more prominent in the SADC region, it was a joint recommendation by the RWPC and other Standing Committees that gave rise to the need for the SADC Model Law on GBV.
We are therefore handing over to the organs of the Forum the technical work accomplished through wide consultations with GBV stakeholders at the regional level. The validation meeting of today represents the valuable steppingstone to the 50th Plenary Assembly.
In addition, I wish to draw to your attention that besides the recommendations of the RWPC and the Standing Committees of the Forum, the SADC Regional Strategy and Framework of Action for Addressing GBV (2018 -2030) also calls for the enactment of human rights compliant legislative provisions which outlaw all forms of GBV. The SADC Model Law on GBV has thus embodied this feature of the Regional Strategy and has reiterated the principles of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality, the Beijing Declaration, as well as Aspiration 6 of Africa Agenda 2063 on women and youth empowerment. Today, I am thus pleased to say that both regional and international efforts on GBV are on the same wavelength and pointing to the same direction.
The extent of consultations made
As a recap, I wish to point out that separate consultations were held with human rights commissioners, SADC lawyers, SADC jurists, SADC chief justices and judicial officers, as well as Chairpersons of Parliamentary Committees at national level, SADC Line Ministries and police representatives. You will note that the breadth and depth of the GBV consultations will be reflected where appropriate in the relevant legal provisions which have been worked out to mirror best international practices and to equally befit the SADC context.
In this regard, I wish to seize this opportunity to thank the relevant regional bodies, CSO’s and other stakeholders who have made this wide consultation possible, including the SADC Secretariat as an institutional partner within the SADC family, the Southern African Chief Justices’ Forum, the SADC lawyers Association, and the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation, to cite but a few. We will be engaging with Regional Parliamentary bodies, the UN agencies, Donors, Magistrates, Legal aid Officials and Prosecutors, and closing Consultations on the 8th of October, 2021.
The GBV Model Law within a Bill of Rights Honourable Members and distinguished participants,
Most of you will aware that the SADC Model Law on GBV is not the first Model Law of the Forum. Indeed, the Standing Committees of the SADC-PF were part of the process leading to the SADC Model Law on HIV, the SADC Model Law on Child Marriage in 2016, and the SADC Model Law on Elections in 2018. These Model Laws constitute a regional SADC Bill of Rights and the Forum is now adding to, and consolidating,its Bill of Rights with the SADC Model Law on GBV being the pinnacle of GBV related initiatives.
I wish to emphasize that all the Model Laws adopted so far are based on similar principles of human rights and democratisation, and that the Model Laws speak to each other. In other words, the Model Laws reinforce one another and whilst each Model Law is based on its own thematic content, they should be read as a whole. The SADC Model Law on GBV is thus being brought forward against the backdrop of other Model Laws which have already proved their efficacy in domestication and incorporation at national level. The SADC Model Law on GBV is thus intended to tighten domestic legal provisions with respect to protection of the human right to health, the human right to physical integrity and the human right to life, all of which form part of the objective of the Forum to preserve a culture of respect for human rights in accordance with its Strategic Plan (2019- 2023). Since GBV is germane to infringements of a number of human rights, the SADC Model Law on GBV is thus sealing the cracks and pitfalls with respect to the deficiencies that affect both genders and expose them to GBV across the SADC region.
Honourable Members and Distinguished Participants,
I now wish to end by saying a few words on the way forward.
After the adoption of the SADC Model Law on GBV, the Forum will not stop here. Indeed, the adoption of the Model Law should be pictured as the beginning of a new process rather an end in itself. The Forum will continue to monitor the Model Law through the Regional Parliamentary Model Laws Oversight Committee, which as you are aware, consists of the Honourable Chairpersons of the RWPC and Standing Committees. While information on domestication continue to be gathered by the relevant Standing Committees in collaboration with national Parliaments, the progress on monitoring will be conducted at high-level by the Oversight Committee. I am pleased to share that a Scorecard has already been developed for 1 Model Law and other Scorecards will be developed, including for the Model Law on GBV. The provisions of the Model Law together with the momentum of the Oversight Committee are bound
to make a difference in domestication endeavours in the years to come. All along, the impetus for domestication must be maintained by Parliament and this validation meeting of today thus foreshadows the beginning of the domestication process.
Honourable Members and distinguished participants, With these words, I wish to invite you to engage freely and frankly with the legal drafter and facilitator for this validation meeting. Today, the Forum will be making history by validating the first GBV Model Law of its kind in the SADC region. As regional legislators, you will be making history by approving a Model law that can influence the lives of over 250 million inhabitants. May the SADC region continue to prosper under your parliamentary leadership!
On this cheerful note, I wish you all a pleasant session.
Ms B.Sekgoma, Secretary General,
SADC Parliamentary Forum 16th September 2021
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