Sample letter to the Minister of Education: Zambia: Rampant rape of schoolgirls by their teachers—victory in R.M.’s civil case

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Hon. Dora Siliya
Minister of Education
P.O. Box 50093
Lusaka
Republic of Zambia
Tel: + 260 211 250 558
Fax: + 260 211 253 502
dsiliya@moe.gov.zm

[Date]

Dear Minister Siliya,

I am writing in regard to the landmark decision of Judge Phillip Musonda of the High Court of Lusaka of 30 June 2008 in the case of R.M., a 13 year-old schoolgirl, who was raped by her teacher and rapist Edson (or Edward) Hakasenke. The judgment became final after the Government of Zambia dropped its appeal of the case in August 2009. In his decision, Judge Musonda referred the matter to your Ministry to issue regulations to “stem such acts in the future.”

I urge you to take immediate action to make sure that guidelines and mechanisms are put in place to prevent and better address violence against girls in schools, including by school officials. Please also ensure that the compensation awarded to R.M. is paid to her as soon as possible.

I was deeply concerned to learn that Mr. Hakansenke remained (and may still be) on the government’s payroll as a teacher while on the run from the police. I urge you to cooperate with police to facilitate the arrest of Mr. Hakasenke and, at a minimum, to ensure that he is no longer being paid by the government.

All countries should be doing all they can to protect girls from all forms of violence including sexual abuse and Zambia’s obligations are enshrined in its own Constitution, and in other human rights instruments to which it is a party, including the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women. I urge you to work with your colleagues in the government to ensure that all schoolgirls in Zambia have full recourse to the law if they are raped and that perpetrators are always prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

I thank you for your attention.

Sincerely yours,