SADC Parliamentary Forum
NOTICE OF MEETING - Pre-Election Consultative Virtual Meeting between the SADC PF Standing Committee on Democratisation, Governance and Human Rights (DGHR) and Electoral Stakeholders in Zambia ahead of the 2021 General Elections on 12th August22 Mar 2021
You are invited to a Pre-Election Consultative Virtual Meeting between the SADC PF Standing Committee on Democratisation, Governance and Human Rights (DGHR) and Electoral Stakeholders in Zambia ahead of the 2021 General Elections on 12th August. The meeting is part of the ongoing efforts towards popularising and promoting the domestication of the SADC Model Law on Elections. The theme for the 10-day consultations is “Promoting Electoral Integrity in the SADC region.”
When: Monday, 22nd to Wednesday, 31st March 2021.
Please register in advance for the meeting on this link:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
- NOTICE OF MEETING - Pre-election Assessment Mission 21-31 March 2021
- Concept Note - Pre-Election Consultative Meeting Zambia 22nd – 31st March 2021
- Programme - Pre-Election Consultative Meeting-Zambia 2021
SADC PF PRE-ELECTION CONSULTATIVE MISSION TO ZAMBIA
Virtual Interface between the SADC PF Standing Committee on Democratisation, Governance and Human Rights (DGHR) and Electoral Stakeholders in Zambia on the Domestication of the SADC Model Law on Elections ahead of the 2021 Zambia General Elections
22nd – 31st March 2021
Continuous review and adaptation of legal frameworks governing electoral systems and processes, based on experiences and emerging best practices, are necessary in old and new democracies alike. The review and timely reform of legal frameworks relating to elections ensures laws are up to date and are aligned to the various regional and international instruments on elections. However, implementing electoral reforms is not without challenges as this often requires the commitment of and collaboration by various stakeholders including parliaments, election management bodies, political parties, civil society, media, government and the general citizenry.
As a primary advocator for democratic elections in the SADC region, SADC PF has a long history and extensive experience in championing electoral reforms in SADC Member States and has developed normative standards for elections, starting with the pioneering election instrument in SADC and the entire African continent, the Norms and Standards for Elections in the SADC region, adopted in 2001. In 2013 SADC PF also developed a compendium of all election principles in the SADC region which are contained in various election instruments adopted by different organisations titled Benchmarks for Assessing Democratic Elections in Southern Africa. The two instruments above have been extensively applied during the over 50 technical assessment and election observation missions that SADC PF have deployed to Member States over the years.
Since the adoption of the Norms and Standards for Elections in the SADC region, several other election instruments have been developed by various organisations, including SADC and the African Union (AU), which are aimed at strengthening the conduct and management of democratic elections. These include the following:
- SADC Principles and Guidelines for Democratic Elections of 2004 by SADC;
- SADC Protocol on Gender and Development of 2008 by SADC;
- Principles for Election Management, Monitoring, and Observation in the SADC Region (PEMMO) of 2003 by Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC (ECF-SADC) and Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA);
- African Union Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa of 2002; and
- African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance of 2007 by the African Union.
As a parliament-centric organisation, SADC PF recognises the importance of elections in the democratisation of SADC Member States and more critically, the role of parliaments in ensuring electoral accountability and electoral integrity during this process. While elections are a cardinal component of any democracy since they confer political legitimacy and integrate social pluralism and political competition, which entrench constructive management of conflict, in and by themselves elections do not equate to democracy. What is of essence to the sustenance of democratic processes is the efficacy of elections, rather than their regularity. The need to ensure electoral accountability and integrity makes parliaments the fulcrum, in particular their law making and oversight roles.
In recognition of the centrality of the legal framework in attaining electoral accountability and integrity and the increasing influence of parliaments in this regard, the SADC PF 44th Plenary Assembly on 4th December 2018 adopted the SADC Model Law on Elections in Maputo, Mozambique. The adoption of the SADC Model Law on Elections is yet another milestone by SADC PF in promoting democratic elections in the SADC Region.
The Model Law, which was developed under the auspices of the DGHR Standing Committee jointly with partners such as the SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC), Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC (ECF-SADC) and SADC Lawyers Association (SADCLA), serves to assist Member States in aligning their legal frameworks on elections with regional and international principles and obligations on democratic elections, in particular the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.
The revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, which was revised with the full participation of SADC PF, was adopted by the Ministerial Committee of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation on 20 July 2015, in Pretoria, South Africa. It sets the framework towards a unified and binding election instrument in the SADC Region.
DOMESTICATION OF THE SADC MODEL LAW ON ELECTIONS IN SADC MEMBER STATES
Whereas the development of various election instruments within SADC was a positive step, the majority of them are however, not legally binding and therefore, non-enforceable. This is coupled with the fact that there has generally been a slow pace in the domestication of SADC Protocols by Member States, including those on elections. Accordingly, while regular elections are now largely a common practice across the SADC region, it is important to note that they vary across Member States in terms of in terms of texture and quality as different countries grapple with various challenges that have potential to impede the credibility and integrity of elections.
As a matter of fact, the SADC region continues to face various recurrent and emerging challenges which are not only undermining the integrity of elections but also have enormous implications on the integrity of democracy itself. At the core of the challenge is the inadequate levelling of the electoral landscape. This has been manifesting in inequitable access to public media, partial application of laws related to the policing of public assemblies during elections, lack of transparency and accountability in political financing, abuse of public resources, contested voter registration processes and outcomes, polarised and biased media and contested election outcomes and recently the Covid-19 related lockdowns that hamper political participations and other elections-related rights.
Consequently, citizens confidence in politics in general and elections in particular has been deeply dented as signified by the growing apathy of citizens, especially among the youth. As the stakes become high in elections the proliferation of disinformation and “fake news” phenomenon and “politics by any means” increased. The result is the entrenchment of an electoral process marked by an entrenched culture of violence which disproportionately impact on women and children.
In view of the above, the domestication of the SADC Model Law on Elections at national level, throughout the election cycle, is therefore, vital to strengthen the electoral legal frameworks, systems and practices in Member States and contribute towards electoral accountability and electoral integrity in the SADC region.
This is the context in which SADC PF is deploying the Pre-Election Consultative Meeting on the Domestication of the SADC Model Law on Elections to Zambia ahead of the 2021 General Elections.
PRE-ELECTION CONSULTATIVE MEETING ON THE DOMESTICATION OF THE SADC MODEL LAW ON ELECTIONS TO ZAMBIA
SADC PF Standing Committee on Democratisation, Governance and Human Rights, in collaboration with Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and GIZ Peace, Security and Good Governance in the SADC Region, will convene a Pre-Election Consultative Meeting with Electoral Stakeholders in Zambia from 22nd to 31st March 2021. The Consultative Meeting will be held virtually on Zoom platform in view of the Covid-19 travel restrictions.
- Disseminate the contents of the SADC Model Law on Elections among electoral stakeholders;
- Engage the ECZ and other electoral stakeholders in Zambia and assess progress on the domestication of the SADC Model Law on Elections and identify successes and gaps;
- Prepare for the deployment of an effective SADC PF election observation mission during the 2021 General Elections;
- Share good practices on the domestication of the SADC Model Law on Elections based on regional and international experiences; and
- Adopt recommendations on priority actions to be undertaken by different electoral stakeholders in the pre-election, election and post-election phases of the election cycle enhance electoral accountability and integrity in Zambia and the SADC region.
FORMAT OF THE EVENT
As already indicated, the Consultative Meetings will be held by the SADC PF DGHR Standing Committee with the various electoral stakeholders in Zambia, including ECZ, political parties, CSOs, media, judiciary and government agencies with roles in the management of elections such as the police based on the programme. The appointments with stakeholders will be organised and facilitated by the National Assembly of Zambia.
STATEMENT BY THE SECRETARY GENERAL DURING STAKEHOLDER CONSULTATIONS FOR THE GBV MODEL LAW WITH WORLD, CONTINENTAL AND REGIONAL PARLIAMENTS – ON 30TH SEPTEMBER 202130 Sep 2021
- Mémounatou Ibrahima, Third Deputy Speaker of the Ecowas Parliament;
- Dr. Anne Itto Leonardo, Chairperson of the East Africa Legislative Assembly Women Caucus;
- Marie Rose Nguini-Effa, President African Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (FPA);
- Mr Galal Nasir, Head of Committee Documentation Research and Library Division at the Pan African Parliament (PAP);
- Ms Bénite Dibateza, Programmes Officer and Network Coordinator for the Network for Women Parliamentarians, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA);
- Ms Brigitte Filion, Consultant, Gender Partnership Programme, Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU);
- Citizens of the SADC Region following proceedings on various platforms;
- Members of the Media;
Dear Colleagues and distinguished participants,
It is with immense pleasure that I welcome you to this inter-parliamentary event under the auspices of the SADC Parliamentary Forum. This event is unlike others, because as we discuss the finalisation of the GBV Model Law, we are also reinforcing not only the valued bonds that we share between national Parliaments of Africa and around the world, but also the bonds of solidarity between regional and international parliamentary organisations which stand fiercely as the custodians of parliamentary democracy from a supra-national perspective. Thus today, we are celebrating parliamentarism and inter- parliamentary cooperation in a unique dimension under the umbrella of the SADC Parliamentary Forum. As Secretary General of the SADC-PF, I am honoured to be addressing this diverse audience of distinguished representatives from august organisations all around the world. In this respect, I wish to start by paying a tribute to the noble cause of inter-parliamentary cooperation and by recognising the resilience of inter-parliamentary networks around the world that have staunchly stood the test of time despite operational challenges. Yet, while inter-parliamentary organisations continue to promote stable democracies and the sovereignty and independence of Parliaments worldwide, there is a lot that remains to be done for democracy and human rights to be instilled across the world. I am confident that you will corroborate the Forum’s view that together, we can go further.
- Why is the engagement with inter-parliamentary organisations important?
Having said this, I wish to turn to the mainstay of the today’s theme of discussions which is the SADC Model Law on GBV. It is indeed apposite that inter- parliamentary organisations have a comprehensive say on the SADC Model Law on GBV which is currently in process of finalisation. As you may be aware, the Model Law on GBV entailed a wide calendar of consultations that have been made with several stakeholders from the public and private sectors as well as the judiciary. Inter-parliamentary organisations are peer organisations to the Forum and it was imperative to garner your esteemed insight as a final step before validating and adopting the Model Law.
Moreover, the participation of inter-parliamentary organisations will be quintessential to disseminate the SADC Model Law on GBV within the SADC region and beyond its borders. The SADC Model Law on GBV is not only a Model Law for SADC. Gender-based violence knows no bounds, and is not delimited by territory. GBV is a contemporary human rights issue and it can cause serious human rights violations such as the right to physical integrity, the right to health and the right to life. GBV affects all regions of the world without fail and it preys on the wealthy as well as the poor. At the same time, I am confident that all major inter-parliamentary organisations around the world subscribe to the tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, from which have stemmed the ensuing International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the corresponding International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. If we are to believe and uphold the principles laid down in international conventions, then GBV is a problem for all without distinction. In this respect, Member States have a duty to prevent their citizens from suffering inhuman, degrading treatment and punishment. If we are to believe and uphold the principles laid down in international conventions, then GBV is a problem for all without distinction.
From this perspective, the SADC Model Law on GBV is thus a Model Law that can be utilised for benchmarking purposes by all inter-parliamentary organisations around the world, and by extension all corresponding national Member Parliaments. While the SADC Model Law on GBV will remain as a benchmark and guiding reference, the Model Law may be adapted to frame legal frameworks on GBV at both the regional and domestic level. As observed with other Model Laws developed by the Forum, Model Laws have the potential of exerting ripple effects and influencing regions and people beyond the geographical scope of the SADC. I thus invite you to consider the session of today as serendipitous, and as a stepping stone towards further collaborative opportunities. Inter-parliamentary organisations can thus act as emissaries to share the Model Law on GBV and assist other regions of the world in enhancing their respective GBV legal frameworks.
- What are the issues which the Forum intends to advance with inter-parliamentary organisations
Dear Colleagues and distinguished Participants,
In your capacity as representatives of inter- Parliamentary organisations, you will be in the right position to attest to the fact that Model Laws only mark a beginning. Indeed, the Model Law on GBV will need to be progressively domesticated once adopted by the Forum, and thereafter the Forum will continue to monitor the domestication efforts made by Member States through the work conducted by its oversight organ, the Regional Parliamentary Model Laws Oversight Committee (RPMLOC).
Thus, looking forward, the Forum and inter- parliamentary organisations need to join hands and muster joint efforts to discuss issues such as the duality of norms and the normative divide that exists between national and international law, the concepts of monism and dualism, the need to identify the bottlenecks to domestication, to cite a few. The meeting of today is thus also to reflect on the ways and means to pave the way forward for the SADC Model Law on GBV by engaging reflections to jointly tackle GBV by capacity development. This will include regularly building the capacity of Parliamentarians on identifying the challenges to domestication and sharing cross-learning experiences that can save the time and energy for pro-active MPs who want to bolster their GBV frameworks at national level. Capacity development will also need to be targeted to legislative staff of State law offices and Parliaments, as well as those that assist Gender Caucuses.
There is also a further need for inter-parliamentary organisations including the Forum to reflect on the value that Model Laws or regional instruments made by inter-parliamentary bodies bring to the existing body of international law, and in this respect, how far can the Model Law on GBV influence international law.
Within the scope of its mandate under the Strategic Plan (2019-2023) of the Forum, the SADC-PF is thus poised to act as a think tank to attract ideas and proposals from peer inter-parliamentary organisations around the world in view of spearheading issues such as benchmarking and domestication that need to be promptly overcome for Parliamentarians to incorporate Model Laws within the national legal system, including the SADC Model Law on GBV which would be the subject of today’s discussions.
In addition, the Forum will be keen to collaborate with like-minded inter-parliamentary organisations to pool resources and develop advocacy content that can further facilitate the assimilation of the SADC Model Law on GBV not only by Parliaments but by other stakeholders in the law-making process such as Line Ministries, technocrats, civil society organisations, to cite a few. Advocacy content include parliamentary manuals, brochures, as well as animated videos, cartoons or any other content that can appeal to the attention of stakeholders and buttress the need to address GBV through a legislative framework, with the Model Law serving in the backdrop as a guiding normative standard.
- Implementing a plan for the Forum to disseminate the Model Law
Distinguished Colleagues and Participants,
I wish to end by saying that your collaboration today is highly appreciated as the Forum embarks into the final stages of the adoption of the SADC Model Law on GBV. In the months to come, the Forum will be finalising its dissemination plan for the SADC Model Law pursuant to its adoption by the 50th Plenary Assembly, and representatives present today are invited to engage their organisations to participate constructively to this exercise. The Forum firmly believes that baby steps can turn into giant steps by the earnest collaboration of like-minded organisations which are unified by the shared vision to eradicate GBV once and for all.
On this good note, I wish to thank you again for your attendance today, and I wish you all a pleasant session.
Ms B.Sekgoma, Secretary General,
SADC Parliamentary Forum 30th September 2021
Avis Aux Médias: Réunion Virtuelle Du FP-SADC Sur La Mise En Œuvre Des Engagements De La SADC En Matière De Santé Et D'agriculture Au Zimbabwe27 Sep 2021
WINDHOEK (NAMIBIA), lundi 28 septembre 2021
Le Forum parlementaire de la Communauté de développement de l'Afrique australe (FP-SADC) tiendra demain, mardi 28 septembre 2021, une réunion virtuelle sur la responsabilité sociale et la surveillance dans la mise en œuvre des engagements régionaux de la SADC en matière de santé et d'agriculture au Zimbabwe.
La réunion, organisée par le FP-SADC en collaboration avec le Partenariat pour la responsabilité sociale, est le premier dans une série de cinq dialogues nationaux visant à aider les Parlements membres du FP-SADC et les Parlementaires au niveau de pays à évaluer, de manière critique, la mise en œuvre et le suivi des accords régionaux dans leurs pays respectifs. Les quatre autres pays qui bénéficieront de cette initiative, dont l’objectif est de donner aux Parlementaires l'occasion de se pencher sur d'éventuelles interventions d’ordre parlementaire, sont le Malawi, le Mozambique, la Tanzanie et la Zambie.
Les détails de la réunion sont les suivants :
Date : Mardi 28 septembre 2021
Heure : De 09h30 à 16h00 (Temps d’Harare/Pretoria).
ACCÈS DES MÉDIA
Les réunions du FP-SADC sont ouvertes aux médias. Les journalistes qui souhaitent les couvrir doivent s'inscrire sur le lien repris ci-dessous, afin d’être ajoutés au Groupe WhatsApp de médias accrédités au FP-SADC, où les informations relatives aux événements du Forum sont régulièrement partagées avec les médias :
L'inscription à la réunion est accessible sur le lien ci-dessous :
La réunion sera diffusée en direct sur la chaîne 408 de DSTV. Elle sera également diffusée en direct sur les plateformes des médias sociaux du FP-SADC accessibles sur les liens suivants :
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sadcpf
- Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/sadcpf
- YouTube: https://youtube.com/channel/UCa0QZWjuXVxer_vm637pBmQ
ÉMIS PAR LE FORUM PARLEMENTAIRE DE LA COMMUNAUTÉ DE DÉVELOPPEMENT DE L'AFRIQUE AUSTRALE.
Media Advisory: SADC PF holds Virtual Meeting on Implementation of SADC Commitments in Health and Agriculture in Zimbabwe27 Sep 2021
WINDHOEK-NAMIBIA, Monday 27 September 2021 – The Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) will tomorrow, Tuesday 28 September 2021, hold a virtual meeting on social accountability and oversight in the implementation of SADC regional commitments in health and agriculture in Zimbabwe.
The meeting, a collaboration of the SADC-PF and the Partnership for Social Accountability, is a first of five national dialogues aimed at assisting SADC-PF Members and national Parliamentarians to critically assess the implementation and monitoring of regional agreements in their countries. The other four countries who are still to benefit from this initiative which will give Parliamentarians an opportunity to reflect on possible parliamentary interventions are Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia.
Details of the meeting are as follows:
Date: Tuesday, 28th September 2021
Time: 09:30 to 16:00 Harare/Pretoria Time.
MEDIA ACCESS: Meetings of the SADC-PF are open to the media and journalists who are interested in covering them must register on the following link to be added to a SADC-PF Accredited Media WhatsApp group where information on events of the Forum are regularly shared with the media:
Registration for the meeting can be accessed on the link below:
The meeting will be broadcast live on DSTV Channel 408 and also streamed live on the SADC-PF social media platforms on the links below:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sadcpf
- Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/sadcpf
- YouTube: https://youtube.com/channel/UCa0QZWjuXVxer_vm637pBmQ
ISSUED BY THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY PARLIAMENTARY FORUM
Statement by the Secretary General During Stakeholder Consultations for the GBV Model Law – Religious and Traditional Leaders on 23rd September 202123 Sep 2021
Director of Ceremonies; Mr Sheuneni Kurasha Thank you;
Her Royal Highness Princess Mihanta Ramanantsoa, Madagascar;
Professor Ezra Chitando, World Council of Churches, Southern Africa;
Distinguished religious and traditional leaders; Members of Senate and House of Chiefs
Ms Eva Jhala- Esteemed Legal Drafter; TWG Members here represented; Members of the Media;
Staff of SADC PF and National Parliaments;
It is a unique honour for me to welcome you all, on behalf of the SADC Parliamentary Forum, to this consultative meeting. I address you as a lay person in matters of theology and tradition, rather as an ordinary citizen of the region who is occupying the position of Secretary General. I consider it a rare privilege to address you my leaders and hope you will find it in your hearts to conciliate my views with yours should there be any discrepancy.
As you may be aware, this consultative meeting is being held in the margins of the development of the SADC Model Law on GBV which necessitated wide consultations with the appropriate stakeholders. Needless to say that the consultations would have been incomplete without the august participation of traditional and regional leaders. Being mindful of the crucial importance of faith leaders in the GBV discourse, it was thus imperative to engage you on the road to progressive norms such that your valued input is comprehensively garnered at this stage.
I. Why is the engagement with faith and leaders important?
Distinguished religious and traditional leaders,
The Forum is aware that your input as religious and traditional leaders is necessary to strengthen the social fabric of the SADC region. The SADC-PF has always promoted broad consultations on gender equality and sexual and reproductive health rights whereby there is ample room for consultation with religious and traditional leaders, and this has been the norm /since the inception of the Forum.
The SADC Model Law on GBV brings international best practices on GBV legislation to the shore of the SADC region, and the Model Law is specifically destined and customised for the SADC context.
In this regard, we are aware that Parliamentarians need to work in close tandem with religious and traditional leaders to ease the adaptation of the legal provisions to the local context.
II. The adaptations required to ease acceptance
I believe you will concur with me to find that the legal provisions concerning GBV are mostly in harmony with religious and traditional values. Where there are discrepancies, we will be open to discuss about them, and we indeed require your immense wisdom and on-the-field experience to rationalise provisions in view of the finalisation of the SADC Model Law.
During the presentations today on the SADC GBV Model Law, you will find that the mainstay of the Model Law consists of an unflinching compliance with human rights that are generally accepted internationally in global instruments as well as in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
To cite but a few, the GBV Model Law is premised on the human right to physical integrity, the human right to health, the human right to life, and the protection of the individual from torture and inhuman and degrading treatment. We are all born in the image of God. We are all God’s children and equal in his eyes and from whence the idea of human rights comes. It follows in my view therefore that an injury to one is an injury to all.
In a spirit of Ubuntu, the Forum is mindful that shared religious and traditional values constitute the foundations of the notions of Pan-Africanism and the friendship, unity and solidarity that exists between Member States of the SADC, as well as from Member States of the African Union.
Religious and traditional beliefs, irrespective of the faith or religion, all point towards peace, justice, and freedom of the individual from torture and inhuman and degrading treatment. All religions and traditions of the SADC region want people to be safe and to feel safe whether at home or in the workplace. Besides, it is only when people feel safe about themselves that they can calmly and peacefully pursue their human right to freedom of religion and conscience. At the same time, the SADC Model Law on GBV is gender neutral, that is in simple terms, it covers both acts made by men on women, and women on men. The Model Law would apply without discrimination based on sex, race, religion, gender, or political opinion.
This is why we firmly believe that the SADC Model Law on GBV would also speak to the values preached by African religious and traditional leaders and there would be no difficulty for the acceptance and assimilation of the Model Law at national level.
III. Requesting help to do away with GBV taboos
Distinguished religious and traditional leaders, On this note, I would like to appeal to your leadership skills within your respective communities and religious groupings, to encourage adults as well as the youth to do away with the taboos that contribute to the promotion of GBV. For instance, within a marriage, whether it is a civil or traditional marriage, a spouse may not report GBV due to the fear of being stigmatised by society. The answer to this predicament is certainly not to silence the aggrieved spouse who is suffering atrocities, but instead to ensure that when GBV reports are made, there is an adequate level of confidentiality that allows authorities to take action without the matter being widely gossiped about and putting to discomfort or shame the parties involved.
There are indeed competing interests here in trying to preserve the sacrosanct relationship of marriage and at the same time, eradicating GBV in modern contemporary Africa.
In this respect, the Forum does not have all the answers to the questions that may arise, simply because, to make things work and to eradicate GBV, everybody has to play their part at the appropriate time. It is indeed impossible to forecast every scenario that may occur in the GBV context although a robust framework can be put in place through the Model Law.
This is why the role of religious and traditional leaders are so important since you are the implementers of positive change in society. You are the ones who are on the forefront to eliminate stigmas and work with authorities to make sure that the law is respected and the safety of individuals are ensured. You are also the ones who make public speeches to large groups of followers and they trust you and your wisdom. You wear multiple hats as preachers, peace keepers and also educators.
Educating individuals on GBV is as important as the implementation of the law itself since without education about the law and what it protects, the status quo will remain forever in society.
IV. About the Model Law as a regional instrument
Distinguished religious and traditional leaders, Before I end, I would like to say a few words about the Model Law on GBV as a regional instrument that awaits domestication in Member States.
While the Model Law provides for a benchmark that can influence the drafting styles of SADC national Parliaments as well as the content of national laws, there will be a measure of contextualisation and further adaptation that will occur at the national level when the GBV law, or amendments to the law, are enacted in Parliaments.
This is to therefore request religious and traditional leaders here today to keep an eye on GBV legislative reform at national level and to contribute abundantly to local reforms that are in line with the GBV Model Law.
While your wise input is required today, your guidance and contributions would be further required in consultations made at national level at the appropriate time. When such legislative opportunities will arise, SRHR Researchers based at national level within Parliaments will be in touch with you for further streamlining and contextualisation to befit the domestic realm.
Having made the above remarks, I wish to thank you again for your attendance today, and I wish you all a pleasant session.
Ms B.Sekgoma, Secretary General,
Statement by the Secretary General During Stakeholder Consultations for the GBV Model Law – Un Agencies and Donors, On 21st September 202121 Sep 2021
Dr. Sarah Thomsen,Lead Policy Specialist for Health and SRHR, SIDA;
Dr. Bannet Ndyanabangi, Regional DirectorUNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional Office;
Ms Eva Jhala,Legal Drafter
Dear Colleagues and distinguished participants, It is with immense pleasure and gratitude that I welcome you to this Consultation in my capacity as Secretary General of the SADC Parliamentary Forum. This consultation today is being held with partners and friends of the Forum which include Sweden, UN agencies as well as development partners that have directly or indirectly contributed to human and social development in the SADC region through GBV related programmes and initiatives.
I. Why is the engagement with UN agencies and Donors important?
Since the establishment of the Forum more than 2 decades ago, regional and international partners of the Forum have been on the forefront of shared initiatives which have aimed to infuse best practices to the SADC region. This forms part of the Forum's commitment to implement SRHR and governance interventions, a culture of human rights through inter-parliamentary cooperation, and in so doing it was imperative to implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), and the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights (1977), as well as the International Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1977). Certainly, similar legal norms have evolved at the regional level through the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (1986) and its Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, to cite a few. Indeed, through the diverse initiatives of the Forum, the SADC-PF together with its Member Parliaments have over the years succeeded to progressively incorporate international norms and best practices found in the instruments mentioned into domestic law, and this with the close collaboration of its developmental partners.
Dear Colleagues, friends and Partners; In this respect, Model Laws have always constituted an avenue to propel international and regional norms into the legislative calendar of Member States. SADC Model Laws, as we know them, have found their way into domestic legal systems within SADC, as well as acted as useful benchmarks and guiding references for legal systems outside of SADC and across Africa. In addition, SADC Model Laws have influenced domestic laws and regional frameworks across continents. In this respect, the visibility of the Model Laws as well as the impetus for advocacy of same have been largely heightened by developmental partners of the Forum, including the UN agencies and donors. Through partners, the Model Laws have known a ripple effect across the SADC region and outside of SADC borders.
I seize this opportunity to express gratitude to ALL partners who have left no stone unturned to contribute to develop Model Laws, produce advocacy content for the engagement of MPs, or go further by inviting the Forum to disseminate the Model Laws during thematic international meetings.
II. The SADC Model Law on GBV
Turning to topic, we are yet again developing a SADC Model Law today - the SADC Model Law on GBV - and this consultative process would not have been complete without your input and engagement.
As you may be aware, this consultation forms part of a series of consultations with stakeholders on the GBV Model Law and this engagement today will further contribute to the alignment of the SADC Model Law on GBV with best international practices that have been witnessed by partners and donors within SADC and beyond. To be certain, the exercise of alignment has already been conducted since the early preparations of the SADC Model Law by benchmarking the provisions with international and regional legal instruments, and the meeting of today will mainly seek to reflect and brainstorm on how to carry the Model Law forward. In other words, as we finalise the SADC Model Law as a bespoke legal instrument that neutralises GBV in the region, there is a need to consider how UN agencies and partners can assist the Forum to make early gains on the Model Law once it is adopted.
III. Why is SADC-PF concerned and leading the process?
Before I proceed to the post Model Law agenda, I wish to give further context to partners about how the SADC Model Law intertwines with other regional policies, and this in order to demonstrate that investing into post Model Law initiatives will also help fructify other initiatives that aim to promote SRHR and gender equality.
The SADC Model Law on GBV is an initiative that sprang from the stem of the Forum's Strategic Plan (2019-2023) . Indeed, the Strategic Objectives of the Forum are geared towards promoting gender equality, implementing public health and Universal Health Coverage, as well as guiding the SADC region towards a culture of human rights within a democratic context. You will certainly concur with me that there can be no human and social development in an environment that is polluted by GBV. Universal health coverage as well as the promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights do not sit well with GBV to any degree, and the right to physical integrity of individuals is for its part completely abhorrent of GBV. From this angle, it was opined by the Forum's membership that the Model Law on GBV could be the sword that could effectively vanquish cross-cutting social ills, and leave the way open for SRHR, human rights and UHC to finally thrive.
Since Parliaments are the exclusive sovereign authorities that are empowered to legislate in SADC Member States, it thus stands to reason that all GBV policies need to be channelled through Parliament if such policies are to have any legal effect. The SADC Model Law on GBV was thus perceived as a legal remedy that would constitute the pinnacle of regional efforts towards eliminating GBV.
Eliminating GBV in the SADC region would thus assist the Forum to draw one step closer to the implementation of UHC and to build the foundations for the democratic drive to be accelerated and reinforced.
IV. How does the Model Law on GBV fit within other regional initiatives?
Since you as international and regional partners are also involved in other regional initiatives concerning GBV, it is felicitous for me to emphasize that the SADC Model Law on GBV is not a self-standing regional measure in the midst of other SADC initiatives. Indeed, the Model Law is in harmony with the broader SADC Regional Strategy and Framework of Action for Addressing GBV (2018 -2030), which many of you have indeed contributed to finalise. Whereas the SADC Regional Strategy for GBV calls for human rights compliant legislative provisions which outlaw all forms of GBV, the SADC Model Law on GBV can is an extrapolation of the Regional Strategy which aims to facilitate the establishment of enabling GBV legislative frameworks in Member States. The Model Law reiterates the gender-related objectives under 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. The Model Law on GBV is thus poised to act as a catalytic accelerator for the GBV commitments taken by Member States under the various international covenants I mentioned earlier.
V. Is soft law important?
On this note, I wish to add that the efficacy of SADC Model Laws to facilitate domestication is undisputed. As partners operating at the regional level, it is no secret that we all struggle on the issue of domestication of treaties and norms. Since most Member States are dualist in nature, international law has to be domesticated by an Act of Parliament for it to have any binding effect at the national level. In this respect, the SADC Model Law on GBV too will need to be domesticated. However, the Forum has already planned ahead for the domestication process in tandem with its Oversight organ, the Regional Parliamentary Model Laws Oversight Committee (RPMLOC) which is mandated to monitor the domestication of Model Laws developed by the Forum.
Therefore, the adoption of the Model Law by the Plenary Assembly of the Forum will augur a new dawn for domestication of GBV norms.
VI. Why is stakeholder consultation with UN agencies and donors important: the Post Model Law Agenda
Dear colleagues and distinguished participants, Having spoken on the germane importance of the Model Law, I now wish to say a few words on the Post Model Law Agenda, in which the Forum will require your input and reflections. As you are all aware, the Model Law is not an end in itself but the beginning of a promising journey. If we want progress to be made, we must invest now for gains to be made later. We therefore require your input on how best the Forum can enhance its partnership framework and benefit from donor resources to advance the Model Law further through programmes and initiatives that ensure domestication and enforcement. Whether it is by the development of advocacy materials, media articles or sensitisation campaigns, the Model Law on GBV needs to be vulgarised within the SADC region. The Forum is in favour of innovation and is currently considering all forms of advocacy materials, including animated videos and comics, to fulfil the post Model Law agenda and ensure that GBV best practices infiltrates into domestic legal systems.
VII. The effect of the Forum's transformation
At the same time, I am pleased to inform UN agencies and donors today that the Forum's transformation into a SADC Parliament has been approved in principle by the 41st SADC Summit of Heads of States and Government on the 18th August 2021. This means basically that the Forum will ascend to a SADC Parliament within an estimated period of 2 years when the SADC Protocol Establishing the SADC Parliament has been ratified and adopted by Member States. The SADC Parliament will then become an institutional organ of the SADC under Article 9(1) of the SADC Treaty. This welcome development augurs well for the Model Laws of the Forum as the SADC Parliament will have further thrust to push for domestication in collaboration with its Member Parliaments. Partners present today are thus invited to reflect on how best they can contribute and participate in the Post Model Law development agenda, such that the momentum of the Model Law is not lost and culminates into tangible results against the backdrop of the transformation of the Forum.
I wish to end by saying that the Forum has always been an fervid enabler of participatory democracy, and today your contributions as participants is also a means for the Forum to promote participatory democracy at the regional and international level. Today, the world is a global village with technology binding us together, and in this global village, participatory democracy entails that the views of stakeholders at the regional and international level are as important as views garnered at the national level. This meeting is thus important because you are important to us as well-wishers of the Forum, and the safe custodians of democracy at the regional and international level.
On this cheerful note, I wish to thank you again for your attendance today, and I wish you all a pleasant session.
Ms B.Sekgoma, Secretary General, SADC Parliamentary Forum 21st September 2021
Statement by the Secretary General for the GBV Model Law – Validation Meeting with Joint Sittings of the RWPC and Standing Committees, on 16th September 202116 Sep 2021
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
Declaração da Secretária-Geral do FP-SADC Sobre O Dia Internacional da Democracia 15 de Setembro de 202115 Sep 2021
É com imensa satisfação que emito a presente declaração aos distintos parlamentos membros do Fórum e parceiros na ocasião da celebração do Dia Internacional da Democracia neste 15 de Setembro de 2021.
Hoje celebramos a democracia, que é o fundamento que sustenta a existência dos parlamentos. O parlamentarismo e a democracia caminham de mãos dadas na via promissora rumo à paz mundial, unidade e estabilidade. Os direitos humanos e as liberdades fundamentais prosperam numa democracia e perecem na ausência desta. Além disso, é lugar-comum afirmar que os princípios democráticos são os pilares fundadores do estado de direito, do constitucionalismo e da igualdade.
Neste sentido, o Fórum aproveita esta oportunidade para saudar e prestar homenagem aos parlamentos membros da SADC que têm resistido com bravura ao teste desafiador do tempo e têm registado uma rica história da promoção dos princípios democráticos dentro do contexto da soberania parlamentar. Embora o ano passado e o corrente tenham sido difíceis para a democracia na região da SADC, os parlamentos aguentaram a adversidade e asseguraram também a necessária continuidade, que é quintessencial para legiferar, bem como continuar a pedir contas ao Executivo. O prestimoso trabalho realizado pelos parlamentos da SADC dentro dos seus respectivos quadros democráticos atenuou os efeitos devastadores da COVID-19 e permitiu que a região enveredasse por uma via de recuperação económica comprometida com o progresso.
De harmonia com o seu Plano Estratégico (2019-2023), o Fórum Parlamentar da SADC reitera o seu compromisso de promover a democracia através da cooperação interparlamentar e implementar a Lei Modelo da SADC sobre as Eleições, que é o traço característico da democracia representativa e a porta de entrada para a boa governação. Graças à manutenção da democracia, gravita sobre a África e o mundo uma nova alvorada de esperança e prosperidade.
Viva a Democracia e Longa Vida aos Parlamentos!
Sra. Boemo Sekgoma
Fórum Parlamentar da SADC
15 de Setembro de 2021
Statement from the Secretary General of the SADC PF on the International Day of Democracy 15th September 202115 Sep 2021
It is with immense pleasure that I release this statement to the Forum’s august Member Parliaments and partners in view of celebrating the International Day of Democracy on this 15th September 2021.