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On Tuesday, 28 November 2017, the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe set aside the decision of the High Court of Zimbabwe, in which the High Court refused the Sexual Rights Centre (SRC) in Bulawayo the right to hold a peaceful demonstration. The purpose of the peaceful demonstration was to create public awareness of ongoing violence and abuse faced by sex workers.

The Sexual Rights Centre is a national human rights organisation based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe which promotes and encourages openness and tolerance in order to address stigma and discrimination affecting vulnerable and marginalised persons.

In December 2015, the Police Commissioner of Bulawayo refused permission for the SRC to hold a march to observe the International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers which takes place annually on 17 December 2017.

The Sexual Rights Centre welcomes the decision to set aside the High Court ruling. Throughout Zimbabwe, sex workers and other marginalised persons are extremely vulnerable to violence, stigma and abuse. In a democratic society such as Zimbabwe, it is important that we create awareness and dialogue aimed at preventing such abuse and the impunity associated with it. “The decision comes at an important time and has opened for the door for the SRC to hold a peaceful march to commemorate the upcoming International day on 17 December 2017,” says Humphrey Ndondo, SRC Executive Director.

“The right to peaceful demonstration and assembly are important rights in any democratic society. They are beneficial since they increase appreciation in society of diverse ideas and opinions and bolster social cohesion,” says Tashwill Esterhuizen, Programme Lawyer at the Southern Africa Litigation Centre.

Issued by:     The Sexual Rights Centre and the Southern Africa Litigation Centre

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