The powers of the Commission are set out in Section 10 of the Human Rights Commission Act Chapter 48 of the Laws of Zambia and they include:
1. To investigate any human rights abuses on its own initiative; or on receipt of a complaint or allegation by-
• an aggrieved person acting in such person’s own interest;
• an association acting in the interest of its members;
• a person acting on behalf of an aggrieved person or;
• a person acting on behalf of and in the interest of a group or class of persons.
2. To issue summons or orders requiring the attendance of any authority before the Commission and the production of any document or record relevant to any investigation by the Commission;
3. To question any person in respect of any subject matter under investigation before the Commission;
4. To require any person to disclose any information within such person’s knowledge relevant to any investigation by the Commission and;
5. To recommend the punishment of any officer found by the Commission to have perpetrated an abuse of human rights.
Further, the Commission has powers to recommend the following remedies:
• the release of a person from detention;
• the payment of compensation to a victim of human rights abuse, or to such victim’s family;
• that an aggrieved person seek redress in a court of law: or
• such other action as it considers necessary to remedy the infringement of a right.
It must be noted, however, that the HRC does not have powers to intervene where a matter is pending before a court.