Posts Tagged ‘Zambia’

Human Rights Defender Linda Kasonde creates new NGO in Zambia

September 9, 2019

lets Linda Kasondeexplain her Chapter One Foundation. She says the formation has been born from the growing threat on human rights, constitutionalism and the rule of law in Zambia. Chapter One Foundation is named after Chapter One of the Laws of Zambia which contains the Constitution.

Kasonde who is executive director of the foundation noted that Increased inequality, growing populism and weakening of public institutions and public accountability were affecting the country’s ability to deliver on the sustainable development goals. “Human rights, the people that defend human rights, constitutionalism and the rule of law are facing a growing threat the world over and Zambia is no exception. Increased inequality, growing populism and weakening of public institutions and public accountability is affecting our ability to deliver on the sustainable development goals that Zambia has signed up to. The mere existence of public institutions is not enough to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights; these public institutions must also be guided by certain principles that ensure the institutions truly function for the benefit of society,” she stated.

Chapter One Foundation is financially supported by the Swedish Embassy, the National Endowment for Democracy, ActionAid Zambia and Caritas Zambia who all recognise the growing need to defend the civic space in Zambia. It is these principles that guide the work of Chapter One Foundation, our goal is to see a Zambia where citizens are freely and actively participating in the governance of Zambia, and where “we the people” take our rightful place as the authors of our own destiny. To achieve this, we recognize that we have to put the individual at the heart of our work, that is why human rights are at the core of what we do.”

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/10/09/profile-of-human-rights-defenders-godfrey-malembeka-zambia/

Important legal victory for land rights defenders in UK Court

April 11, 2019

Vedanta building in India
Image copyright VEDANTA

On 10 April 2019, BBC and others reported on a landmark judgement in the UK that could have big implications for others cases in which human rights defenders seek compensation from multinationals. Nearly 2,000 Zambian villagers have won the right to sue mining giant Vedanta over alleged pollution, the UK Supreme Court has ruled. The landmark judgement means other communities in developing countries could seek similar redress in the UK.

Zambian villagers have been fighting for the right to seek compensation in British courts for several years. Vedanta had argued that the case should be heard in Zambia. The UK Supreme Court disagreed, saying that the case must proceed in the UK, due to “the problem of access to justice” in Zambia. The case relates to allegations by villagers living near the huge Nchanga Copper mine, owned by Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), a subsidiary of UK-based Vedanta. Vedanta said: “The judgment of the UK Supreme Court is a procedural one and relates only to the jurisdiction of the English court to hear these claims. It is not a judgment on the merits of the claims.

Martyn Day, senior partner at law firm Leigh Day, which is representing the Zambian villagers, said: “I hope this judgment will send a strong message to other large multinationals that their CSR [Corporate Social Responsibility]. policies should not just be seen as a polish for their reputation but as important commitments that they must put into action.

[In 2015, Zambian villagers accused Vedanta of poisoning their water sources and destroying farmland. Leaked documents seen by the BBC appeared to show that KCM had been spilling sulphuric acid and other toxic chemicals into the water sources. …In India’s Tamil Nadu state, a Vedanta-owned copper smelting plant was closed by authorities in May 2018.]

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/03/23/human-rights-council-recognises-vital-role-of-environmental-human-rights-defenders/

Profile of Human Rights Defenders: Godfrey Malembeka – Zambia

October 9, 2018

The is the profile of Human Rights Defender Godfrey Malembeka from Zambia who works for the rights of prisoners and prison reform. Another in the series recently published by European External Action Service (EEAS) in the context of the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/10/04/chia-wei-chi-first-in-series-of-videos-by-european-external-action-service/]. 

https://eeas.europa.eu/topics/human-rights-democracy/51717/human-rights-defenders-godfrey-malembeka-zambia_en

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.

Are the Police human rights defenders? They should be!

August 28, 2012

In the Zambian Daily Mail of 27 August there is an interesting editorial written by Samuel Kasankha: WHOSE HUMAN RIGHTS ANYWAY?. It poses very neatly the crucial question of how the police relate to human rights and tries to marry the protection of the public with the limitations on the police. 

Police are a human rights organisation | Zambia Daily Mail.