Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Zambian Government Commits to Upholding Human Rights, Says Ministry of Justice Permanent Secretary


Zambia’s Ministry of Justice Permanent Secretary for Administration, Mrs. Thandiwe Daka Oteng, has stressed that the Zambian Government has a duty to respect and promote human rights. Speaking at the 3963rd Meeting, 137th Session, Human Rights Committee of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) in Geneva, Switzerland, Mrs. Oteng outlined the progress that Zambia has made in meeting international standards for living conditions for inmates, legal aid desks for inmates and suspects, and drafting bills to strengthen the capacity of the Human Rights Commission.

The Zambian delegation, led by Mrs. Oteng, also recognized the urgent need to draft legislation corresponding to the instruments to which Zambia is a signatory and to support victims of human rights violations. The delegation included representatives from the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Lands, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, the Zambia Law Development Commission, the Department of Immigration, the Zambia Police, the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Office of the Commissioner for Refugees, and Zambia Correctional Services.

Meanwhile, Zambia’s Minister of Justice, Mulambo Haimbe, has announced Zambia’s commitment to amend the bill of rights in part III of the Zambian Constitution through a national referendum. Speaking during the 13th International Meeting of Justice Ministers in Rome, Italy, Mr. Haimbe appealed for support from cooperating partners to help review the bill of rights to protect and promote human rights in the country.

Mr. Haimbe emphasized that Zambia must keep its commitment to human rights as provided in Article 15 of the Zambian Constitution, which prohibits torture, inhumane or degrading punishment, or other like treatment. He also noted that the amending of the bill of rights would be in support of Zambia’s commitment to the International Bill on Human Rights, to which the country is a signatory.

Furthermore, Mr. Haimbe revealed that President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema, had commuted the sentences of 390 inmates on death row to life imprisonment, using his power of prerogative of mercy. However, he expressed concern that even with the abolition of the death penalty, Article 12(1) of the Zambian Constitution permits the enactment of a law or a provision under any code to deprive life through a death sentence. He urged the need to review and replace the article to prevent any future government from enacting a law on the death penalty.

The International Meeting of Justice Ministers has been organized by the Community of Santi’egidio, with the theme of “A world without the Death Penalty.”


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