GALZ was awarded the, 2014 AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa(ARASA) Human Rights, HIV and TB Award at a ceremony hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa on 16 April 2014.
“The ARASA Human Rights, HIV and TB Award was established in 2007 to recognise and support organisations across southern Africa undertaking groundbreaking work to protect human rights, often in extremely challenging political climates,” explained Michaela Clayton, Director of ARASA. “For the first time since the inception of the award, two organisations were selected to receive the award based on their success using litigation as a key strategy to protect rights. They deserve to be lauded for their efforts.”
Speaking shortly after receiving the award, GALZ Director, Chesterfield Samba said ,“Receiving this award will further advance the LGBTI agenda and will help amplify the work of GALZ in Zimbabwe. It will also motivate other human rights and civil society organisations to take up advocacy for the protection of the rights of LGBTI people.”
GALZ has over the past years encountered harassment of its members including the Chairperson. Martha Tholanah, was charged with contravening Section 6(1)(3) of the Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO) Act. The State alleged that Tholanah, knowing that GALZ was not registered, “unlawfully took part in the management of the organisation by gathering its members and continued to carry out activities while engaging in gays and lesbians activities” in contravention of the PVO Act. In February 2014, the Magistrate found that GALZ was not obliged to be registered in terms of the Private Voluntary Organisation Act. Samba also added that “During this period we have faced harassment, raids of our offices and had our staff arrested and assaulted due to the nature of our work as human rights defenders”
The award ceremony was held at the conclusion of ARASA’s Annual Partnership Forum, which provides an opportunity for ARASA’s 73 partners to review the status of HIV, TB and human-rights in the region and identify emerging human rights challenges for targeted responses in the next year.
Source – MSM Global Forum