Prisons Care and Counselling Association (PRISCCA) and thousands of prisoners in Zambia join the world in commemorating Human Rights Day which falls on 10th December annually.
Human rights day is celebrated in commemoration of the day when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
This year’s Human Rights Day was celebrated under the theme “Dignity, Freedom and Justice for All”. A milestone of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will be celebrated next year 2023.
We commend cooperating partners, Civil Society Organisations and the Government in Zambia for their continued collaboration in achieving human rights gains in Zambia. It is undeniable that Zambia’s human rights profile is improving as seen by the numerous successes that have been scored as a country.
Some of these successes include, the establishment of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) in the year 1997, ratification of the Convention on the Rights of a Child (CRC), the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and domestication of the same in the Children Code Act and participation of prisoners in democracy
Others include the maintenance of the defacto moratorium for the past 25 years and the holistic review of the Penal Code Cap 87 and the Criminal Procedure Code Cap 88, which if repealed and enacted through an ongoing process by Parliament, may lead to decriminalizing petty offences and the abolition of the death penalty in tandem with the African Human Rights Commission’s resolution of 2017.
Further, Government has continued exhibiting political will towards improving the welfare of vulnerable and marginalised people such as persons in lawful custody and those living with disabilities. Zambia has recognized paralegals through the Legal Aid Policy and in addition, the judiciary has been decentralized and now Zambia has Resident Judges in 8 out of 10 provinces.
It is our hope that by next year when the world and Zambia in particular celebrate the 75th Human Rights Day, more gains will have been scored. These successes need consolidated and coordinated advocacy efforts from different stakeholders and we appeal to all concerned stakeholders to play their role in ensuring that Zambia continues to respect and uphold human rights principles in all areas of human reality.
On 10th December, 1948, the UDHR was proclaimed and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. The extraordinary vision and determination of the UDHR drafters produced a document that the first introduced human rights for all people in an individual context.
Now available in more than 360 languages, the Declaration is the most translated document in the world – a testament to its universal nature and reach that has inspired the constitutions of many newly independent States and many democracies. The Declaration has turned into a yardstick by which we measure respect for what we know, or should know, as right and wrong.