News
 

The Human Rights Commission (HRC/Commission) strongly condemns the continued violation of media freedom and freedom of expression in Muchinga Province by suspected Patriotic Front (PF) party supporters.
 
The storming of Isoka Radio Station, Muchinga Radio Station and the cancellation of a paid up Programme on Mpika Radio Station to stop live Radio Broadcasting Programmes featuring United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Mr. Hakainde Hichilema via a telephone interview are a systematic violation of human rights and criminal in nature and must not be allowed to continue.
 
The Commission, therefore, calls on the Government to immediately take practical steps to stop the violations, criminal and undemocratic conduct to restore the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of expression in Muchinga Province and indeed the whole country.
 
The Government must decisively deal with such acts of lawlessness and human rights violations because they have potential to contribute to widespread political violence and thereby endangering the lives of Journalists and other citizens, particularly during the countdown to the 2021 Presidential and General Elections.
 
Media Freedom and Freedom of Expression are fundamental human rights and critical to good governance and national development. The Government has the primary responsibility to ensure that those who violate human rights are arrested and punished in accordance with the existing laws while victims must be protected from continued abuse or violations.
 
Regrettably, the Commission has noted that even after the Government through the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, Hon. Dora Siliya, MP, who is also the Chief Government Spokesperson, condemned the interference of programming on Mpika and Muchinga Radio Stations, the attacks on Radio Stations by suspected PF supporters have continued unabated.
 
It would seem that the perpetrators ignored the Government guidance through Honourable Siliya and instead heeded to the call to block Mr. Hichilema from speaking on any Radio Station in Muchinga Province, which was made through a Press Statement attributed to the ruling party’s Muchinga Province Chairperson, Mr. Alex Simuwelu, on the same day the Minister held a Press Statement.
 
Thus, there is general view that the cancellation of the Radio Programme on Mpika Radio Station on 13th May 2020, the attack of Muchinga Radio Station on 15th May 2020 and Radio Isoka on 18th May 2020 appear to be backed by the ruling party leadership going by the Statement attributed to the PF Provincial Chairperson.
 
The Commission is deeply concerned at the failure to arrest the identified cadres who stormed Muchinga Radio Station amidst a live programme, as well as taking action against the Mpika District Commissioner, Mr. Moses Katebe, who cancelled the Radio Programme and Mr. Simuwelu whose statement bordered on discrimination, inciting hatred, violence and breach of peace.
 
The Government is urged to effectively meet its obligation of ensuring that both State and Non-State actors refrain from engaging in such acts of gross human rights violations. Unless the perpetrators are brought to book, the Government will be seen to be failing in its duty to protect and promote human rights and instead allowing the violations to continue with impunity.
 
It is therefore the Commission’s expectation that the Government will take practical action against the perpetrators of the said human rights violations as a matter of good governance, respect for human rights, constitutionalism and the rule of law.
 
There is also need for a clear assurance by the Government to protect the right of everyone, including Mr. Hichilema’s, to democratically participate in public affairs of this nation, anywhere in this country, on an equal footing with the ruling party, without any form of discrimination, intimidation and harassment.
 
Issued by:
 
Mudford Z. Mwandenga
Chairperson
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
The Human Rights Commission (HRC/Commission) is calling for increased funding towards public and community health awareness activities on COVID 19 to foster positive behavioural change towards the New Normal.
 
The Commission has observed low levels of compliance with Health Regulations and Presidential Directives on Coronavirus particularly in peri-urban and rural areas where there is misinformation and myths relating to COVID 19.
 
It is a source of grave concern that despite daily statistics of people testing positive for coronavirus, some people are still spreading false information that there is no coronavirus in Zambia and are claiming that the statistics on people testing positive are a fundraising venture. This kind of information is endangering the fundamental rights to health and life as it has the potential to contribute to lowering the guard against prevention by some people. It must, therefore, be urgently redressed through increased dissemination of correct information.
 
While the Commission commends the Government for allowing trading in markets and street vending during the outbreak of COVID 19 in order to promote socio-economic rights of individuals and families, it is equally concerned about the low levels of adherence to public health regulations and guidelines.
 
The Commission has observed that some traders and buyers in markets and on the streets were not maintaining social distancing, regularly washing and sanitising their hands and were no wearing face masks. Such low level of non-compliance to health regulations practices poses a serious risk and complication to fighting the prevention and spread of coronavirus. This is because in an event that there was a confirmed case of coronavirus, adequate contact tracing within the public markets and street vending value chain will be almost impossible.
 
The Commission therefore calls upon all marketeers and street venders to strictly adhere to the health regulations for their own, their family and customers’ public health safety. Above all, the Government must prioritise funding towards public health education and community awareness activities in order to enhance prevention and improve compliance with the Health Regulations and Presidential Directives on coronavirus.
 
Finally, the Commission commends the on-going capacity building of health workers and it is hoped that it will contribute to the reduction of the worrying cases of health workers contracting the virus.
 
Issued by:
 
Mweelwa Muleya
Spokesperson
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
The Human Rights Commission (HRC/Commission) is deeply concerned at the increasing number of health workers testing positive for Coronavirus and calls for their enhanced protection and also consider payment of risk allowance as they risk their lives to save lives.
 
The increasing number of medical personnel contracting COVID 19 during the course of duty is a reflection of inadequacies in their protection and highly unsafe working environment they are exposed to. The need to prioritise the protection of health workers from contracting COVID 19 is not only for their own health safety, but that of their own families and the patients they care for.
 
The Commission has been monitoring measures aimed at preventing and controlling the spread of Coronavirus and has found that some health workers lack adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as surgical masks, face shields, eye goggles, surgical gowns, plastic aprons and boots.
 
To this effect, the Commission supports the Government pronouncement to provide adequate PPE at all levels of health care, particularly to Frontline Health Workers such as in casualty, emergency admission wards and outpatient departments. The provision of PPE should be supported by adequate and continuous training of health personnel in the prevention of contracting and transmitting COVID 19 during their course of work.
 
Further, the Commission calls for mandatory testing for COVID 19 of all patients that are admitted for any illness, particularly in high risk districts to prevent health workers from contracting the virus from patients who may not be exhibiting any symptoms of COVID 19. This could be possible since the number of admitted patients have drastically reduced as one of the positive measures the Government has put in place during the fight against COVID 19.
 
During the monitoring exercise, the Commission has observed positive measures aimed at decongesting health facilities such as banning vising hours, downsizing or closing outpatient clinics, limiting elective surgical procedure to only emergences such as cancer, reporting for work on a rotational basis of health staff in terms of daily clinical activities and reduction of hours spent on the wards.
 
However, it is clear from the increasing number of health workers testing positive for coronavirus that such commendable measures are inadequate and there is need for serious and urgent review of the working environment of health workers.
 
Issued by:
 
Mweelwa Muleya
Spokesperson
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
The Human Rights Commission (HRC/Commission) commends the Police Inspector General of Police Mr. Kakoma Kanganja for guiding the Police to restrain from using excessive force during the enforcement of the Public Health Guidelines and Presidential Directive on Coronavirus.
 
The  directive is commendable because it is consistent with the Constitutional mandate of the Zambia Police Service of upholding the Bill of Rights as enshrined under Article 193 (2) (e) of the Constitution of Zambia [Amendment] Act No. 2 of 2016.
 
The Commission is raising a red alert against police brutality because in the past it has received and dealt with complaints of individuals who have suffered broken ribs, legs, arms, teeth and have lost sight or eyes, sense of hearing and ruptured private parts, thereby terminally violating their right to found a family. In extreme cases, some victims have died, depriving them of their right to life.
 
Therefore, the Commission calls on members of the public and public officials to refrain from the culture and practice of celebrating or condoning any form of violence, particularly by the law enforcement officers because the consequences of the so called minimum force can be as grave  as permanent disability or death, and anyone can be a victim. Above all, physical violence is totally prohibited at international and human rights law, by the Constitution of Zambia Chapter 1 of the laws of Zambia and the Penal Code Act, Chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia as a violation of human rights and criminal.
 
Finally, the Commission reiterates its support for effective implementation of the Public Health Guidelines and the Presidential Directive on Coronavirus within the established legal framework because they are for the greater good of promoting and protecting the rights to health and life. Therefore, everyone must comply with the guidelines for their own interest, that of their family and the members of the public at large.
 
Issued by:
 
Mweelwa Muleya
Spokesperson
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
The Human Rights Commission (HRC/Commission) commends the Police Inspector General of Police Mr. Kakoma Kanganja for guiding the Police to restrain from using excessive force during the enforcement of the Public Health Guidelines and Presidential Directive on Coronavirus.
 
The  directive is commendable because it is consistent with the Constitutional mandate of the Zambia Police Service of upholding the Bill of Rights as enshrined under Article 193 (2) (e) of the Constitution of Zambia [Amendment] Act No. 2 of 2016.
 
The Commission is raising a red alert against police brutality because in the past it has received and dealt with complaints of individuals who have suffered broken ribs, legs, arms, teeth and have lost sight or eyes, sense of hearing and ruptured private parts, thereby terminally violating their right to found a family. In extreme cases, some victims have died, depriving them of their right to life.
 
Therefore, the Commission calls on members of the public and public officials to refrain from the culture and practice of celebrating or condoning any form of violence, particularly by the law enforcement officers because the consequences of the so called minimum force can be as grave  as permanent disability or death, and anyone can be a victim. Above all, physical violence is totally prohibited at international and human rights law, by the Constitution of Zambia Chapter 1 of the laws of Zambia and the Penal Code Act, Chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia as a violation of human rights and criminal.
 
Finally, the Commission reiterates its support for effective implementation of the Public Health Guidelines and the Presidential Directive on Coronavirus within the established legal framework because they are for the greater good of promoting and protecting the rights to health and life. Therefore, everyone must comply with the guidelines for their own interest, that of their family and the members of the public at large.
 
Issued by:
 
Mweelwa Muleya
Spokesperson
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
The Human Rights Commission (HRC/Commission) is calling for respect for constitutionalism, the rule of law and human rights during the enforcement of guidelines on preventing the spread of coronavirus.
 
The Commission is making this call against the background of numerous complaints it has received and its own observations on actions and public statements by some public officials advocating violation of human rights against individuals failing to comply with the guidelines on COVID-19.

Based on the foregoing, as a Constitutional Body mandated to promote and protect human rights in Zambia, the Commission wishes to guide that neither the Constitution nor human rights have been suspended because of Coronavirus in Zambia.
 
What is true is that there is a legal and legitimate restriction of human rights, particularly the rights to freedom of assembly, association and movement as a matter of public health interest, which is in line with international and regional human rights standards. Therefore, everyone is required to comply with the issued guidelines because they are in line with international human rights law and meant for everyone’s protection of the right to health and life.
 
However, the fundamentality of promoting and protecting public health and the right to life should not be a license for advocating or engaging in human rights violations such as administering corporal punishment or physical beating of the suspects.
 
Corporal punishment constitutes torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment which is totally prohibited under Article 15 of the Constitution and under International and Regional Human Rights Law to which Zambia is a party. Any punishment that has to be meted out on the suspects should be in line with Penal Laws and/or as prescribed under the Statutory Instruments on COVID 19 namely the Public Health (Notifiable Infections Disease) (Declaration) (Notice) 2020, Statutory Instrument No. 21 of 2020 and the Public Health (Infected Areas) (Coronavirus Disease 2019) Regulations 2020, Statutory Instrument No.22 of 2020 both gazette on the 13th March 2020.
 
In this regard Statutory Instrument No. 22 of 2020 is instructive that those who fail to comply with the guidelines shall be liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding two thousand and five hundred penalty units [equivalent to K750] or to six months imprisonment or to both. Further, the Statutory Instrument also clearly designates responsible officers for the enforcement of the guidelines.
 
Therefore, the Commission is calling for total adherence to the Guidelines on COVID 19 by ensuring that its enforcement is as prescribed in the interest of respect for constitutionalism, the rule of law and human rights.
 
To this end, the Commission wishes to appeal to everyone, including Senior Government Officials to respect the rule of law by allowing designated Ministries or institutions and officers to accordingly enforce the guidelines in order to avoid arbitrariness and lawlessness, which result into violation of human rights.
 
The Commission is cognizant of the fact that while citizens’ arrest is legal, it does not empower citizens, regardless of their status, to punish or order punishment of suspects but to hand them over to law enforcement officers for prosecution in the courts of law.
 
Only the courts of law are legally allowed to hand down punishment in accordance with the prescribed laws to ensure that only legal, necessary and proportionate punishment is given to offenders upon being found guilty through the due process of the law.
 
The Commission will continue sensitizing the public on the need to adhere to the Guidelines on COVID 19 because they are in the best public health interest. Further, the Commission will also continue monitoring the human rights situation arising from the implementation of the Guidelines and response to COVID 19 to ensure that there is respect for the constitution, the rule of law and human rights amidst the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
 
Mweelwa Muleya
Spokesperson
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
The Human Rights Commission (HRC/Commission) is calling for respect for constitutionalism, the rule of law and human rights during the enforcement of guidelines on preventing the spread of coronavirus.
 
The Commission is making this call against the background of numerous complaints it has received and its own observations on actions and public statements by some public officials advocating violation of human rights against individuals failing to comply with the guidelines on COVID-19.

Based on the foregoing, as a Constitutional Body mandated to promote and protect human rights in Zambia, the Commission wishes to guide that neither the Constitution nor human rights have been suspended because of Coronavirus in Zambia.
 
What is true is that there is a legal and legitimate restriction of human rights, particularly the rights to freedom of assembly, association and movement as a matter of public health interest, which is in line with international and regional human rights standards. Therefore, everyone is required to comply with the issued guidelines because they are in line with international human rights law and meant for everyone’s protection of the right to health and life.
 
However, the fundamentality of promoting and protecting public health and the right to life should not be a license for advocating or engaging in human rights violations such as administering corporal punishment or physical beating of the suspects.
 
Corporal punishment constitutes torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment which is totally prohibited under Article 15 of the Constitution and under International and Regional Human Rights Law to which Zambia is a party. Any punishment that has to be meted out on the suspects should be in line with Penal Laws and/or as prescribed under the Statutory Instruments on COVID 19 namely the Public Health (Notifiable Infections Disease) (Declaration) (Notice) 2020, Statutory Instrument No. 21 of 2020 and the Public Health (Infected Areas) (Coronavirus Disease 2019) Regulations 2020, Statutory Instrument No.22 of 2020 both gazette on the 13th March 2020.
 
In this regard Statutory Instrument No. 22 of 2020 is instructive that those who fail to comply with the guidelines shall be liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding two thousand and five hundred penalty units [equivalent to K750] or to six months imprisonment or to both. Further, the Statutory Instrument also clearly designates responsible officers for the enforcement of the guidelines.
 
Therefore, the Commission is calling for total adherence to the Guidelines on COVID 19 by ensuring that its enforcement is as prescribed in the interest of respect for constitutionalism, the rule of law and human rights.
 
To this end, the Commission wishes to appeal to everyone, including Senior Government Officials to respect the rule of law by allowing designated Ministries or institutions and officers to accordingly enforce the guidelines in order to avoid arbitrariness and lawlessness, which result into violation of human rights.
 
The Commission is cognizant of the fact that while citizens’ arrest is legal, it does not empower citizens, regardless of their status, to punish or order punishment of suspects but to hand them over to law enforcement officers for prosecution in the courts of law.
 
Only the courts of law are legally allowed to hand down punishment in accordance with the prescribed laws to ensure that only legal, necessary and proportionate punishment is given to offenders upon being found guilty through the due process of the law.
 
The Commission will continue sensitizing the public on the need to adhere to the Guidelines on COVID 19 because they are in the best public health interest. Further, the Commission will also continue monitoring the human rights situation arising from the implementation of the Guidelines and response to COVID 19 to ensure that there is respect for the constitution, the rule of law and human rights amidst the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
 
Mweelwa Muleya
Spokesperson
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

AcyMailing Module

Subscribe to our newsletter by sending us your valid email address.

Vision & Mission

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

We have 16 guests and no members online

Contact us

  • Human Rights Hse, Independence Ave, Lusaka, Zambia
  • Tel: +260 211 251327/57
  • Fax: +260-21-1-251342
  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Who's Online

We have 16 guests and no members online

Statistics

OS:  
Linux w
PHP:  
7.0.28-0ubuntu0.16.04.1
MySQLi:  
5.7.21-0ubuntu0.16.04.1
Time:  
17:29
Caching:  
Enabled
Gzip:  
Disabled
Users:  
52
Articles:  
238
Articles View Hits:  
514990