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After engaging various stakeholders, the Human Rights Commission (HRC) strongly recommends that the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) should consider lifting the suspension of the broadcasting license for Prime Television Station.

The suspension of the broadcasting license of Prime TV for 30 days is excessive punishment that is likely to seriously undermine the growth of the Privately-owned Television Station as well as deprive millions of its viewers of their democratic right to access divergent information and views as required in a democratic state.

Zambia has a relatively good record of having established a robust liberalised media industry in the quest to promote free expression of, and access to divergent views, information and opinions as a matter of human rights and good governance.

It would be extremely unfortunate if such a record of human rights and good governance was undermined by a decision such as suspending the broadcasting license of the Privately-run Television Station when the matter could easily have been amicably resolved in better way.

The Commission is therefore confident that the Government will listen to numerous voices pleading for its public interest intervention and will accordingly review the decision made by IBA.

As a National Human Rights Institution, the Commission wishes to advise that freedom of expression and media freedom are common parameters of assessing a country’s human rights and good governance record. It is, therefore, in the national interest that the government must look at a broader governance picture in resolving this matter.

The consequences of a country being viewed as a human rights violator, whether true or not, has far-reaching negative impact on the socio-economic development of the country and on the general welfare of the citizens at large. Therefore, the common good must override any sectional interests in resolving the complaints against Prime TV.

While appreciating IBA’s mandate of safeguarding the rights, freedoms and reputation of others from unprofessional broadcasting, it is the Commission’s strong view that IBA should continue executing its legislative mandate in a manner consistent with the fundamental human rights principles of non-discrimination and equal protection and benefit of the law.

To this effect, IBA is encouraged to be seen to be building the capacity of all broadcasting institutions in Zambia in order to contribute to a professional, pluralistic and diverse broadcasting industry as a hallmark of deepening democracy, respect for human rights and good governance.

Finally, the Commission wishes to call upon all stakeholders, particularly human rights defenders and the media fraternity, to effectively claim their right to a robust pluralistic and diverse media industry in Zambia that will fearlessly but factually and fairly mirror the diverse socio-economic, cultural and political heritage of the country for sustainable inclusive development.

[The Human Rights Commission is a National Human Rights Institution established under Article 230 of the Constitution of Zambian (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016 to promote and protect Human Rights in Zambia]


Mweelwa Muleya
Spokesperson
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

The Human Rights Commission (HRC) wishes to condemn the spate of violence that characterised the Sesheke Parliamentary By-election campaigns in Western Province and calls for serious commitment to national dialogue to stop similar future violence and disturbances.

The Commission is on the ground monitoring the elections in Sesheke and is deeply concerned at the violence and continued application of excessive force by the Zambia Police Service to respond to perceived or actual threat to breach of peace and order by political cadres from both the UPND and the PF.

Further, the Commission condemns the excessive political pressure and threats against police officers, which has resulted in unlawful and unprofessional conduct of the men and women in uniform for fear of political victimisation such as being transferred to seemingly unfavourable places or position, or being retired in the “national interest” if they disobeyed political orders.

The violence and the suppression of the right to freedom of assembly that were witnessed during the campaigns for the on-going by-elections underline the imperative need for an immediate solution.

To this effect, the Commission calls upon all stakeholders to immediately resolve differences over the national dialogue and set the national tone and agenda for national reconciliation, peace and unity. There is need for national healing before the 2021 Presidential and General elections.

It is extremely disheartening that the country should continue witnessing and experiencing its own citizens trying to exercise their democratic rights and freedoms being injured and in some cases losing lives when such regrettable violations could easily be prevented through political leaders talking to each other and preaching peace and love for each other.

Finally, the Commission is confident that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) will continue to handle the electoral process, including the counting, transportation and collation of results of the on-going by-elections, with utmost transparency and sensitive to avoid misunderstanding and suspicion. The Commission also appeals to the leaders of the participating political parties to refrain their supporters from engaging in acts of violence and other unlawful acts which have potential to undermine the integrity and legitimacy of the election outcome.

The ECZ must be allowed to professionally and legally conduct their work without undue influence in order to uphold and protect the free expression of the will of the electorate in voting for candidates of their own choice.

[The Human Rights Commission is a National Human Rights Institution established under Article 230 of the Constitution of Zambian (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016 to promote and protect Human Rights in Zambia]


Mweelwa Muleya
Spokesperson
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

The Human Rights Commission (HRC) wishes to condemn the spate of violence that characterised the Sesheke Parliamentary By-election campaigns in Western Province and calls for serious commitment to national dialogue to stop similar future violence and disturbances.
 
The Commission is on the ground monitoring the elections in Sesheke and is deeply concerned at the violence and continued application of excessive force by the Zambia Police Service to respond to perceived or actual threat to breach of peace and order by political cadres from both the UPND and the PF.
 
Further, the Commission condemns the excessive political pressure and threats against police officers, which has resulted in unlawful and unprofessional conduct of the men and women in uniform for fear of political victimisation such as being transferred to seemingly un favourable places or position, or being retired in the “national interest” if they disobeyed political orders.
 
The violence and the suppression of the right to freedom of assembly that were witnessed during the campaigns for the on-going by-elections underline the imperative need for an immediate solution. 
 
To this effect, the Commission calls upon all stakeholders to immediately resolve differences over the national dialogue and set the national tone and agenda for national reconciliation, peace and unity. There is need for national healing before the 2021 Presidential and General elections.
 
It is extremely disheartening that the country should continue witnessing and experiencing its own citizens trying to exercise their democratic rights and freedoms being injured and in some cases losing lives when such regrettable violations could easily be prevented through political leaders talking to each other and preaching peace and love for each other.
 
Finally, the Commission is confident that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) will continue to handle the electoral process, including the counting, transportation and collation of results of the on-going by-elections, with utmost transparency and sensitive to avoid misunderstanding and suspicion. The Commission also appeals to the leaders of the participating political parties to refrain their supporters from engaging in acts of violence and other unlawful acts which have potential to undermine the integrity and legitimacy of the election outcome.
 
The ECZ must be allowed to professionally and legally conduct their work without undue influence in order to uphold and protect the free expression of the will of the electorate in voting for candidates of their own choice.
 
 [The Human Rights Commission is a National Human Rights Institution established under Article 230 of the Constitution of Zambian (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016 to promote and protect Human Rights in Zambia]
 
Mweelwa Muleya
Spokesperson
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

1.0 Introduction

The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has completed its independent investigations into the Students protest and the Zambia Police Service operation at the University of Zambia (UNZA) Great East Road Campus which took place on 4th and 5th October 2018 during which a female student lost life while another suffered multiple bodily injuries and property was either damaged or lost.

The detailed investigations report has been submitted to key stakeholders, who include relevant Government Ministries and Offices, UNZA Management, Police Public Complaints Commission, the Inspector General of Police and other affected or concerned parties for their information and/or action on the findings and recommendations made by the Commission.

2.0 Main Objectives of the Investigations

The main objectives of the investigation by the HRC was to establish the following:
(i) Whether there was a student unrest on the 4th and 5th October, 2018 at UNZA as alleged;
(ii) Whether the death of Vespers Shimuzhila was in violation of the right to life as provided for under Article 12 of the Constitution of Zambia;
(iii) Whether the said student unrest resulted in the injuries to students and loss of property;
(iv) The manner in which the unrest was handled by the Zambia Police Service;
(v) Whether the loss of life, injuries to students and loss of property was lawful or justifiable under the circumstances; and
(vi) Who (if any) was responsible for the loss of life, injuries sustained by students and loss of property.

3.0 Investigations Methodology

The HRC employed a combination of personal observation, scene visits and inspections, examination of relevant documents, personal as well as group interviews with witnesses in order to come up with its findings, conclusions and recommendations.
Those interviewed included, but not limited to, the students, the UNZA Security, UNZA Management, UNZA Lecturers and Researchers Union (UNZALARU), UNZA Clinic Management, University Teaching Hospital (UTH) Management as well as the Zambia Police Service.

4.0    Constitutional and Statutory Powers of the HRC

The HRC is an autonomous National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) established under Article 230 (1) of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016. The constitutional mandate of the HRC is to ensure that the Bill of Rights is upheld and protected [in accordance with Article 230 (2) of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016].  

Article 230 (3) further mandates the HRC to, inter alia-
“ (a) investigate and report on the observance of rights and freedoms; and
 (b) take necessary steps to secure appropriate redress where rights and freedoms are violated….;

The mandate and powers of the HRC are also stipulated under Section 9 of the HRC Act, Chapter 48 of the Laws of Zambia. Therefore, the investigation, conclusion and recommendations herein were made within the above stated constitutional and legislative framework.

5.0    Protection of the Right to Life

The right to life is a fundamental human right enshrined in various international and regional human rights instruments such as under Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 6 (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and under Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Further, the right to life is entrenched in the Bill of Rights under Article 12 of the Constitution of Zambia as follows:

“12. (1) A person shall not be deprived of his [her] life intentionally except in protection of right to life, execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence under the law in force in Zambia of which he [she] has been convicted”.

Clearly, the right to life is not absolute. There are circumstances under which its deprivation may not legally be deemed as a violation of human rights under Article 12 of the Constitution of Zambia such as when someone has been sentenced to death by the courts of law as stated above. Further, Article 12 (3) of the Constitution provides circumstances under which the right to life may be lawfully taken away.

It provides that “…a person shall not be regarded as having been deprived of his life in contravention of this Article if he dies as a result of the use of force to such extent as is reasonably justifiable in the circumstances of the case-
(a)    for the defence of any person from violence or for the defence of property;
(b)     in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained;
(c)     for the purpose of suppressing a riot, insurrection, mutiny or if he dies as a result of a lawful act of war; or
(d)     in order to prevent the commission by that person of a criminal offence.”  

It is extremely important to take note of the constitutionally prescribed derogations to the right to life to assess whether or not the death of Vespers Shimuzhila constituted a violation of human rights or not as prescribed under the Constitution.

6.0 Findings of the Investigation

Some of the salient findings of the HRC investigations were the following:

1. That there was and still remains no proper channel of communication between the Bursaries Committee and the student populace especially on schedule of payment of allowances following the ban of the Student Union by the Hon. Minister of Higher Education, Hon. Prof. Nkandu Luo, MP.

2. That it was true that some students who were protesting the delayed payment of the balance of K2, 000 meal allowance marched to the Great East Road on 4th October 2018 and started throwing burning tyres on the road but were quickly sent back into campus by some vigilant police officers who had been alerted about the protest by the University of Zambia Security Officers. There was no motor vehicle or property reported to have been damaged as a result of the conduct of the protesting students;

3. After the protesting students had been repelled into the Campus, relative calm had returned, particularly after the Vice Chancellor, Professor Luke Evuta Mumba, had addressed the students at night and assured them that their allowances were going to be paid by 8th October 2018. The Government started paying students their balance of meal allowances a day after the protest, on 5th October 2018.

4. The Police were seen driving into UNZA Premises around midnight on 4th October 2018 and officers were seen jumping off a Green Nissan Police Vehicle and two other Land Cruisers, one of them labelled, “Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe Police Station”.

5. According to witnesses, gunshots were heard in UNZA Campus and police officers were seen throwing suspected hand held-grenades and firing tear gas canisters into students’ rooms through windows. A total of six (6) students’ rooms where tear gas canisters were fired into were gutted by fire.

6. The HRC heard that as the fire in October Hostel 2 Room 21 was being quenched by some students, some  police officers repeatedly tear gassed the students who were quenching the fire and also rescuing their colleagues that were trapped in the rooms, causing October Hostel 2 Room 3, to also catch fire.

7. October Hostel 2, Room 25, which was occupied by eight (8) female students, was heavily affected by flames and fumes from Room 21 which was on fire. Some of the eight  (8) female students escaped by climbing down through the window while the 23 year old Everntyn Choongo, jumped from the room, which is on the third level of the building and  suffered multiple fractures, including a broken lower spine.  Another student, Trudie Kalimbwe, who was the last to leave room 25 alive, suffered burns on her hands and hair before escaping through the door. Regrettably, Vespers Shimuzhila, could not escape and was found unconscious by fellow students who braved the reported continued tear gassing. She was rushed to UNZA Clinic where she was pronounced as brought in dead and her body was transferred to Levy Mwanawasa Hospital before being transferred to UTH Mortuary.

8. During the morning of Friday 5th October 2018, after the police operation at UNZA, some students and UNZA security personnel went round the campus premises and rooms to assess the damage caused by the police operation during the previous night. A total of 26 spent canister cans, which included 23 long range spent canister cans and three (3) empty hand-held grenades, were found and collected. Spent canister cans were found in all the rooms that caught fire.

9. UNZA Clinical Medical Officers confirmed that a total of 23 students, 15 female and eight (8) male, were treated for varying degree injuries and for inhalation of tear gas during the police operation at UNZA. Of the 23 victims, nine (9) were treated for physical injuries while 14 were treated for inhalation of tear gas.

10. Medical Doctors interviewed and others who witnessed the post-mortem on the body of Vespers Shimuzhila informed the HRC that the Preliminary Report of the post-mortem indicated that Vespers Shimuzhila died of “suffocation due to carbon monoxide intoxication”.
According to medical experts, “carbon monoxide poisoning is caused by inhaling combustion fumes or smoke inhalation during a fire, particularly in an enclosed or partially closed place. Carbon monoxide replaces oxygen in the red cells and prevents it from reaching tissues and essential organs such as the heart, thereby causing unconsciousness or even death”.

11. Almost all the witnesses interviewed wondered where the Police Service wanted the students to be or to run to other than into the UNZA Campus Premises and, in particular, their rooms where they were being teargassed from, resulting into some rooms being gutted by fire thereby causing loss of life, injuries and property.

The Commission’s Observations, Conclusions and Recommendations

By virtue of the powers vested in the HRC pursuant to Section 10 (2) (d) as read together with Section 13 (1) (b) of the HRC Act, and arising from the investigations findings, the following observations, conclusions and recommendations are hereby being made:

1. That the late Vespers Shimuzhila died as a result of “suffocation due to carbon monoxide intoxication” as confirmed by the medical evidence through a post-mortem. It is therefore beyond any reasonable doubt that Vespers Shimuzhila did not die from a natural cause.  Further, from all the evidence submitted by a wide range of witnesses during investigations, it can be concluded that the invasion of the UNZA Campus Premises and subsequent throwing of suspected hand grenades and firing of tear gas canisters into students rooms by the Zambia Police Service, caused the death of Vespers, the injury of other students as well as the loss of, and damage to University and Students’ Property. The Commission considers the firing of tear gas canisters in students’ rooms extremely unprofessional, an act of excessive use of force which resulted into a grave violation of the right to life, destruction and loss of property and undermining the right to education of the affected students whose education materials and equipment were either lost or damaged during the police night operation.  

2. It is clear from the totality of the evidence obtained that the police acted in an extremely brutal manner depicting a combative warfare situation against unarmed students who at that time no longer posed any real danger or violence to the police officers or to any other member of the public or property. Therefore, to that extent, the police overnight aggressive operation at UNZA  from 4th to 5th October 2018 could not be deemed as “use of force to such extent as is reasonably justifiable in the circumstances,” which is provided for under Article 12 of the Constitution of Zambia.  

3. The investigations findings provided reasonable grounds to believe that the death of Vespers Shimuzhila did not fall under any of the human rights derogations provided for under Article 12 (3) of the Constitution of Zambia and various regional and international human rights law. It is regrettable that the Zambia Police Service conduct in this case amounted to breach of their own constitutional mandate and obligation to protect life and property and to uphold the Bill of Rights. Therefore, appropriate criminal charges should be preferred against all the police officers (including the senior police officers who were in-charge of the operation) for the ensuing loss of life, body injuries to several students and damage to property;

4. The State being the primary duty bearer of human rights with the trio obligation of respecting, protecting and fulfilling the rights of all people in Zambia should be held vicariously liable for the actions of the police officers who are its agents;

5. Further, the estate of the late Vespers Shimuzhila should consider instituting  legal proceedings against the State and its agents (police officers involved) for the arbitrary loss of her constitutionally guaranteed and birth right to life in order to secure adequate compensation;

6. The Zambia Police Service is a disciplined member of the armed forces and officers work under strict orders or instructions, and in an organized and clear channel of command, with specific officers in charge of every operation. To that effect, those who ordered the attack of students into their rooms are already known by the police. The HRC therefore calls upon the Zambia Police Command to own up and take responsibility over the death of Vespers Shimuzhila and injuries sustained by Everntyn Choongo,  Trudie Kalimbwe and others as well as for the loss of property;

7. The Commission wishes to commend the Government of the Republic of Zambia for promptly evacuating Everntyn Choongo to South Africa for specialist treatment and for taking care of all medical and incidental costs.

    The Government executed its obligation of facilitating access to medical care in this respect and must be commended for its responsiveness.  In this regard, the HRC recommends that the Government should continue paying all medical and other incidental expenses towards the treatment of Everntyn Choongo until her full recovery and rehabilitation. The State should further compensate Everntyn Choongo for the serious injuries she suffered including a fractured lower spine resulting in her paralysis. The state should also extend the compensation of medical and incidental expenses to other students who were injured during the UNZA Police operation.

8. On a balance of probability, all the six rooms that caught fire and other rooms that had window panes damaged as well as loss of various personal effects of students can be attributed to the actions of the Zambia Police Service. Therefore, the State should compensate all the students that lost various property during the UNZA Zambia Police Service operation from 4th to 5th October 2018. To this effect, UNZA management must compile a list or report on the lost and damaged students’ property during the stated police operation. Affected students are also at liberty to consider instituting legal action against the State individually or severally;

9. There should be an effective mechanism of resolving UNZA disturbances between the Zambia Police Service and UNZA management which must be mutually respected by both parties. Information gathered by the HRC was that the Zambia Police Service was advised to limit their operation to keeping vigil around UNZA Campus Premises to maintain law and order outside Campus but leave UNZA Security Officers to deal with internal security issues, until or unless advised otherwise depending on the situation.

10. Students should desist from engaging in behaviour that is disruptive to other members of the University Community as well as the general public. They should always seek to address their grievances in a more civil manner that respects the rights and freedoms of others. Although the HRC did not receive a submission relating to any damage to property or injury caused by students during the protest under review, students should be reminded that members of the public whose vehicles they damage or target to damage during protests are the ones paying tax to the national treasury from which their meal allowances are drawn or paid. Therefore, students violence against members of the public is  criminal, unreasonable and unjustifiable in a democratic and civilised society;  

11. The Government through the Ministry of Higher Education and the Bursaries Committee must be proactive in redressing students’ grievances relating to payment of allowances, which historically lead to disturbances. It is regrettable that it seems it has become a customary practice that the Government will always swiftly pay students their  allowances only after a protest;

12. The Minister of Higher Education should lift the ban on Students Union at all Higher Learning Institutions such as UNZA. The ban is not only a violation of the fundamental freedom of association guaranteed under Article 21 (1) of the Constitution but also a violation of Section 27 (1) of the Higher Education Act No. 4 of 2013 which provides that, “There shall be a students’ union in a higher education institution.”

The student unrest of 4th October, 2018 demonstrated that banning student unions is not an effective remedy to averting student unrest. To the contrary, it makes the management of students’ welfare difficult as it breaks the communication channel between the students, UNZA management  and the Government.

In concluding, the HRC wishes to stress that the Government of the Republic of Zambia has an inescapable mandate and obligation to ensure that whenever human rights violations occur within its jurisdiction, appropriate remedies are provided to the victims and/or to their families and perpetrators of human rights violations are punished in accordance with the existing national and international human rights laws to which it is a State Party.

The Human Rights Commission (HRC) is deeply concerned at the reported detention of Ms. Loveness Katongo Mwale, the wife to the Police Officer who is alleged to have shot dead his colleague in Lusaka and is on the run.
 
The relatives to Ms. Mwale complained to the Commission that she was brutally apprehended by Police Officers in three vehicles on Friday 11th January 2019 and taken to Chelston Police Station where she was detained.
 
The Commission has also received disturbing reports from Ms Mwale’s relatives that she has allegedly been tortured and was being denied access to medication and that relatives did not know her whereabouts since Saturday 12th January 2019 when she was last seen in detention at Chelston Police Station in Lusaka.
 
Since Monday 14th January 2019, the Commission has been following up with the Police to find out the whereabouts of Ms. Mwale and the information obtained is that she accompanied police officers to Mongu to help track down her husband, Edwin Kabasiya, the police officer alleged to have shot dead Constable Lennox Kapila. The Police in Mongu Confirmed to the HRC investigations team that Ms. Mwale was in the province with some officers from Lusaka, but efforts by the Commission to find out where exactly she was proved futile.
 
The Commission is seriously concerned at the flagrant violation of Ms. Mwale’s constitutional right to liberty as enshrined under Article 13 of the Constitution of Zambia. The right to liberty can only be lawfully taken away, among other circumstances, where there is a court order or upon reasonable suspicion of a person having committed, or is about to commit a criminal offence under the law in force in Zambia. Based on preliminary information gathered by the Commission, there is neither a court order nor reasonable suspicion of Ms. Mwale having committed any criminal offence warranting her detention.
 
Further, it is established international human rights law that prolonged isolation and deprivation of communication with others as is the case with Ms. Mwale’s incommunicado detention amounts to cruel and inhuman treatment, harmful to the psychological and moral integrity of the person and a violation of the inherent dignity of a human being.
The Commission wishes to state that it frowns upon any form of human rights violation such as the continued unlawful practice by the Police of detaining individuals to “help with investigations”.

The position of the law regarding when the police can arrest or detain someone was clarified in the case of DANIEL CHIZOKA MBANDANGOMA v THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL (1979) Z.R. 45 (H.C.), in which the court held, inter alia; that “the police can only arrest persons for offences and have no power to arrest anyone in order to make inquiries…”, and that “arresting and detaining anyone for purposes of facilitating investigations was unlawful and amounted to false imprisonment”.
 
Therefore, the Commission calls upon the Police to immediately release Ms. Mwale from their custody and respect her rights to liberty, health, inherent dignity and allow her to communicate and meet with her family and relatives.

Finally, the Commission wishes to remind the police that the means does not justify the end. Law enforcement officers must always conduct their operations within the ambit of the law regardless of the gravity or complexity of the matter at hand.
 
[The Human Rights Commission is a National Human Rights Institution established under Article 230 of the Constitution of Zambian (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016 to promote and protect Human Rights in Zambia]
 
Issued by:
 
Mweelwa Muleya (+260 977 871207)
Spokesperson
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

The Human Rights Commission (HRC) strongly condemns the killing of the wife of a police officer by suspected armed robbers yesterday in Makeni Villa, Lusaka, as the act constitutes a grave violation of the right to life of the deceased.

The Commission also condemns in the strongest terms the attack on Sergeant Billy Simwamba’s family that resulted not only in the death of his wife, but also in his wounding together with his brother who sustained multiple injuries resulting into their hospitalisation.

The deprivation of the right to life is in violation of international and regional human rights instruments as well as the Bill of Rights of the Zambian Constitution, Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia which guarantees the right to life under Article 12.

It is also regrettable that police officers who work tirelessly and under very difficult conditions to protect the lives and properties of other people are made to pay with the lives of their beloved ones and have their own lives endangered for carrying out such noble duty.

The Commission calls upon members of the public to rally behind the Zambia Police Service as it tracks down the three suspected armed robbers who are on the run so that they are brought to book in accordance with the law. There is need to put an end to the continuous attacks on law enforcement officers and innocent civilians.

It is also important for the communities to continue to work together with the police in community policing through long-term partnerships such as neighbourhood watch groups in order to ensure a safe and secure environment for all people to live and enjoy their rights and freedoms without fear of being attacked or robbed by individuals attempting to carry out unlawful activities.

The Commission conveys its condolences to Sergeant Billy Simwamba and the entire family of the deceased and wishes the police officer and his brother quick recovery in hospital.

[The Human Rights Commission is a National Human Rights Institution established under Article 230 of the Zambian Constitution (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016 with an overall mandate and obligation of ensuring that the Bill of Rights is upheld and promoted]
 
Issued by:

Simon Mulumbi
Principal Information Officer
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

The Human Rights Commission (HRC) strongly condemns the killing of the wife of a police officer by suspected armed robbers yesterday in Makeni Villa, Lusaka, as the act constitutes a grave violation of the right to life of the deceased.

The Commission also condemns in the strongest terms the attack on Sergeant Billy Simwamba’s family that resulted not only in the death of his wife, but also in his wounding together with his brother who sustained multiple injuries resulting into their hospitalisation.

The deprivation of the right to life is in violation of international and regional human rights instruments as well as the Bill of Rights of the Zambian Constitution, Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia which guarantees the right to life under Article 12.

It is also regrettable that police officers who work tirelessly and under very difficult conditions to protect the lives and properties of other people are made to pay with the lives of their beloved ones and have their own lives endangered for carrying out such noble duty.

The Commission calls upon members of the public to rally behind the Zambia Police Service as it tracks down the three suspected armed robbers who are on the run so that they are brought to book in accordance with the law. There is need to put an end to the continuous attacks on law enforcement officers and innocent civilians.

It is also important for the communities to continue to work together with the police in community policing through long-term partnerships such as neighbourhood watch groups in order to ensure a safe and secure environment for all people to live and enjoy their rights and freedoms without fear of being attacked or robbed by individuals attempting to carry out unlawful activities.

The Commission conveys its condolences to Sergeant Billy Simwamba and the entire family of the deceased and wishes the police officer and his brother quick recovery in hospital.

[The Human Rights Commission is a National Human Rights Institution established under Article 230 of the Zambian Constitution (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016 with an overall mandate and obligation of ensuring that the Bill of Rights is upheld and promoted]
 
Issued by:

Simon Mulumbi
Principal Information Officer
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

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The mission of the Human Rights Commission is to promote and protect human rights for all people in Zambia through investigations of human rights violations, rehabilitation of victims of human rights abuses, education of communities and advocacy for policy and legal changes influenced by evidence based research

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