PROMOTING LAW AND POLICY REFORM, CITIZEN PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNANCE
The Research and Advocacy Unit is an important pillar of the LRF’s work. Using the data and information gathered through its various activities as well as researching on topical issues the LRF is then able to provide information and advocate for law and policy reform as well as citizen participation in governance.
Women’s Property and Inheritance Rights
The Research and Advocacy Unit, as part of the Women’s Property and Inheritance Network, contributed to the writing of a position paper which was presented to the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs who recommended that the position paper be revised to formulate each problem clearly in simple language with a view to future law reform. The network is currently working on this.
Promoting Marginalised Citizens Participation in Zimbabwe’s Political Processes
Leading towards the elections in June last year, the LRF conducted a one day training workshop for artists, General and Agricultural Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) activists and LRF paralegals to arm them with the correct information on citizenship as provided for in the new Constitution. Two leaflets were produced; a detailed one for the artists, focal persons and activists and an abbreviated one for distribution to the public.
Junior Parliament Training
The Advocacy Officer trained 300 new Junior Parliamentarians on advocacy and lobbying and how it can be used to effect policy reform.
Commemorations provide a useful platform to advocate rights related issues. LRF collaborated with other organisations in observing various international commemorative events, including International Women’s Day, World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse, the Day of the African Child, World Aids Day, 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence and Human Rights Day. As well as promoting cooperation between NGOs and presenting strong messages, these events also enabled the LRF to reach a wider and different audience.
The LRF is part of the Family Court Committee, which is currently analysing a bill drafted by the Law Development Commission to provide for a Family Court at the level of the Magistrates Court. The Family Court is intended to be a special court which, in matters involving divorce, will give the option of filing either with the Magistrates’ or the High Court. This will increase access to the courts for those living outside Harare and Bulawayo