Posts Tagged ‘Lusaka’

Paul Kasonkomona, Zambian human rights defender and LGBTI activist, detained

April 12, 2013

On 10 April 2013 human rights defender and LGBTI activist, Mr Paul Kasonkomona was due to appear in court to challenge his arbitrary detention, three days after being arrested in connection with a live TV interview in which he called for the decriminalization of same-sex relations in Zambia. Despite legal arrangements prohibiting preventive detention without formal charges beyond 48 hours, and contrary to the promise given by Zambian authorities, the human rights defender is yet to appear in court. Paul Kasonkomona is a prominent human rights defender working for Engender Rights Centre for Justice, a local human rights group focusing on the rights of sexual minorities in Zambia, and running campaigns in support of the rights of gay people, sex workers, and people living with HIV/Aids. Frontline NEWlogo-2 full version - cropped

The human rights defender was the evening guest for the program, “The Assignment” run by Muvi TV, an independent TV station operating from Lusaka. During the TV program, Paul Kasonkomona focused on the need for improved access to health care by sex workers, prisoners and sexual minorities. The allegations over which Kasonkomona is being held remain unclear as he has not been formally charged. However, a police official has been quoted as suggesting that the charges against the human rights defender are related to “inciting the public to take part in indecent activities.”

Front Line Defenders believes that Paul Kasonkomona has been detained as a result of his legitimate and non-violent activities in defence of human rights.

Zambian Civil Society Groups Request Review of Human Rights Policy

March 6, 2013

Just an example of how politics and elections interact with the role of human rights defenders, always a touchy subject:

After the Zambian Police arrested and charged Zambia’s opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema, on 27 January 2013, seven 7 Civil Society Organisations in Zambia have called upon the Zambia’s Human Rights Commission, Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union, the Commonwealth and “other human rights defenders” to review Zambia’s human rights record and denounce the violations by the Zambian Government. The organisations have also called upon the Electoral Commission of Zambia to cancel by-elections in Livingstone and Mpongwe in accordance with Section 28 of the Electoral Act No. 12 of 2002. Reading the statement during the Press Briefing at FODEP House in Lusaka on behalf of the 7 organisations the Young African Leaders Initiative  President Andrew Ntewewe, called on the Deputy Inspector General of Police to immediately resign for violating fundamental political rights which are guaranteed by the Constitution of Zambia when he banned political rallies in the Livingstone. With a strong sense of exaggeration the organisations have advised the Zambian Police Command to resist the temptation of “turning the Police Service into a unit similar to NAZIs Gestapo under Hitler in Germany”. The 7 organisations have lambasted the Zambia Police for their continued unprofessionalism in handling matters that border on freedom of expression, assembly, movement and association. The organisations that appended their signatures to the statement included; Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP), Operation Young Vote (OYV), Anti-Voter Apathy Project (AVAP), Southern Centre for Construction Resolutions of Disputes (SACCORD), Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), the Zambia Centre for Inter-party Dialogue (ZCID) and the Zambia National Womens Lobby Group (ZNWLG).

via allAfrica.com: Zambia: Civil Society Groups Request Review of Human Rights.