Zambia’s civil society preparing for its upcoming review by the Human Rights Committee
Published on 02 Nov 2021, 05:04 PM
Zambia will be reviewed by the Human Rights Committee in one of its upcoming sessions
National consultation on the implementation of the ICCPR in Zambia, October 2021
Zambia’s implementation of the ICCPR will be examined by the Human Rights Committee in one of its upcoming sessions. The last review of Zambia took place in 2007, but a lot has changed in the meantime, including a global pandemic.
In this context, the Centre organized a workshop for civil society in order to prepare for the next review. Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD) was the Centre’s main partner for this activity on the implementation of the ICCPR in Zambia. The consultation took place in Lusaka on 11 and 12 October 2021 in a hybrid format, with over 20 participants.
The following organisations were represented during the training: NGOCC, FODEP, ZCSD, AAAZ, ZAW, HICAC, Mast newspaper, Sishemo Foundation, ZNWL, SACBTA, the UN Regional Country Office and the Carter Center.
Main concerns of civil society in Zambia
The consultation focused on the ICCPR and the Human Rights Committee, as well as on the upcoming UPR of Zambia, scheduled for 2023. The role of civil society during these processes was discussed in detail.
The participants worked in groups to identify their main concerns and priorities, which included the following topics:
- The abolition of the death penalty
- Independence of the media
- The review of the Constitution, in order to deal with several contradictions with international law
- Freedom of assembly, that should be guaranteed to everyone regardless of their political affiliation
- Freedom of expression and the fact that defamation of the President is used against journalists
- Torture and the lack of strength of the police complaints commission
- The lack of independence of the judiciary
- Gender equality, which needs a mindset change among the population.
Sustainable Cooperation with UN Regional Country Office
A representative from the UN Regional Country Office in Lusaka participated in the workshop and gave a presentation about Human Rights and the SDGs in Zambia. She shared statistics about Zambia’s implementation of the SDGs so far, which made clear in which areas the State still has most work to do.
Moreover, this training formed a bridge between the UN presence and Zambian civil society. Before October, these actors did not engage with each other. From now on, they will hold regular meetings and start a constructive partnership, in which the UN country office will see how they can support civil society in their activities.
Raising awareness among the parliamentarians
Zambia held parliamentary and presidential elections in August 2021. On 14 October 2021, the Centre participated in a meeting with the newly elected parliamentarians. This meeting aimed to raise awareness about the upcoming review by the Human Rights Committee and the UPR process. A guide was developed by the Centre, that grouped together all the recommendations from the Committee’s last review and the last UPR, relevant for Parliamentarians. These include recommendations to adopt or amend laws and to review the Constitution.
The participating NGOs will now prepare a comprehensive civil society report to the Human Rights Committee, with the support of the Centre and ZCSD, to contribute to the review of Zambia. The discussions that were held during the workshop, will serve as a basis for the report, that will reply to the questions formulated by the Committee in the List of Issues.
Currently, the Committee’s calendar for 2022 is not finalized. It is hoped that Zambia will be scheduled for review in one of the upcoming sessions. For the most recent updates on the session, follow the Centre on Twitter (@CCPR_Centre).
In 2022, civil society will also submit a report for Zambia’s UPR.