Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Nothing has changed when it comes to the violation of human rights in Zambia

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By Venus N Msyani

Violation of human rights was among the main reasons Zambians voted for change on August 12, 2021. Has anything changed?

Every year The US State Department releases the annual country reports on human rights. Comparing a report under the previous administration to the one that has just been released, nothing has changed when it comes to the violation of human rights in Zambia.

According to a 2020 report, that covers the previous government of the Patriotic Front (PF), significant human rights issues in Zambia included:

“Unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings; torture and cases of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; serious restrictions on free expression, the press, and the internet, including violence and threats of violence against journalists, censorship, and the application of criminal libel and slander laws; substantial interference with the right to freedom of assembly; official corruption; the existence and use of laws criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults; and widespread child labor.”

The just-released 2022 report covers the current government of the United Party for National Development (UPND). According to the report, significant human rights issues included:

“Credible reports of unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings; torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by the government; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; serious restrictions on freedom of expression and media, including violence and threats of violence against journalists, censorship, or enforcement of or threat to enforce criminal libel laws to limit expression; substantial interference with the rights of freedom of assembly and association; serious government corruption; and the existence and enforcement of laws criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults.”

Comparing the two reports, one doesn’t need to go through more than once to answer the above question. Nothing has changed when it comes to the violation of human rights in Zambia. Actually, the situation seems to get worse.

Relying on the two reports it may be hard to notice because what has happened recently and is happening now are not included. It is alleged that former Zambian Ambassador to the AU Emanuel Mwamba was brutally treated by the police during his recent arrest. If this is true, imagine what happens to ordinary Zambian suspects.

Another disturbing news happened a few days ago. A Zambian to pay K100 or go to jail for disclosing that he didn’t vote for the United Party for National Development.

Mr. Cornelius Kolala was arrested recently by the police during the just-ended International Trade Fair in Ndola for standing in front of the Presidential motorcade while wearing a yellow T-shirt with the message, ‘I did not vote for President Hakainde Hichilema.’

The offense was admitted by Mr. Kolala while he was in police custody. Should we rule out torture?
Hoping we all arrive at one answer. Nothing has changed when it comes to the violation of human rights in Zambia. Human rights organizations should investigate Mr. Kolala and similar arrests. It is very possible a lot of suspects are being tortured and nursing wounds in police custody.

5 COMMENTS

  1. “…Credible reports of unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings;…”

    Who was killed by the UPND GRZ ?????

    Incoherent report by inexperienced staffers who only knew the PF GRZ…….

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  2. Sad thing is that the PF didn’t see the violence. Now Upnd is not seeing this violence. In short you only see it if you are at the receiving end. If you are the perpetrator you don’t see it.

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  3. The police are a law unto themselves this do back to UNIP days
    Its become a culture now, I dont think there is a solution to this at this time,
    The blame lies with the IG and nobody else

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