- Last Updated on 02 December 2011
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Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition wishes to congratulate WOZA founder and national coordinator Jenni Williams for being awarded the French National Order of Merit at a ceremony at the residence of the French Ambassador, Francois Ponge in Harare on Friday 25th November 2011.
The award was given by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy on recommendation of the French Embassy, to recognize Williams for her relentlessly engagement in advocating for democracy and human rights, especially for women in Zimbabwe.
The Coalition pays tribute to the courage, commitment and determination Jennie Williams has shown in the fight for democracy and empowering thousands of community activists, making them champions for change. The award will also help to lift the profile of many human rights champions and protect them from abuse, harrasament and torture.
WOZA was formed to give voice to ordinary women, to demand social justice for all Zimbabweans, to respect citizens and to recognise the concerns of Zimbabwean as legitimate. Recently WOZA organized a peaceful match in Harare in commemoration of the 16 days of activism against gender based violence. The march was also meant to bring together women, peace and human rights movements to challenge militarism. For decades, human rights and peace movements have advocated for the use of peaceful strategies to end conflict and violence and to achieve women's' rights. WOZA members split into two military like formations and yelled WOZA war cries as they bravely marched towards Parliament Buildings from different directions, to demand the transformation of violent and military mindsets.
The gallant women braved threats from the police riot squad and left after dumping hundreds of copies conveying their demands at the main entrance to the building. Part of the leaflets read: As Zimbabwe joins the world to commemorate the 16 days of activism to end violence against women, for WOZA, November 29 is a special day for Zimbabwe women. We have selected to this day to launch our report to parliament on our constitutional outreach process. WOZA members in their petition to the Parliament of Zimbabwe indicated that sexual and gender-based violence is a weapon of state agents, particularly the police or military. "Sexual and gender based violence is a weapon of state agents, particularly the police or military. Even in places where there is no war, there is a war on women's bodies".
This year's theme 'From peace in the home to peace in the world: lets challenge militarism and end violence against women' means civil society plays a crucial role in pushing for deeper understanding of security so it emphasizes peace and the fulfillment of human rights as a way to achieve genuine security for everyone.