Tag Archives: Lusaka

“Zambia has the potential to become a disability champion in the African region” – UN expert

GENEVA / LUSAKA (28 April 2016) – “There are good opportunities to achieve the realisation of rights of persons with disabilities in Zambia,” today said United Nations Special Rapporteur Catalina Devandas, while urging the Government to fully implement a number of well-formulated and well-intended policies and strategies.

Ms. Catalina Devandas-Aguilar (Costa Rica) was designated as the first Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities

Ms. Catalina Devandas-Aguilar Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities during a press briefing at Southern Sun Hotel, Lusaka. Photo credit UNIC Lusaka April 28, 2016.

“Zambia has the potential to become a disability champion in the African region, provided that the Government makes it a priority to implement the policy and legal framework on disability,” Ms. Devandas said at the end of her first official visit* to the country to assess the level of enjoyment of the rights of persons with disabilities.  

The UN expert highlighted numerous initiatives by the Zambian authorities to improve the protection framework for persons with disabilities, including the strengthening of the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the production of a National Disability Survey, and the significant efforts undertaken to make its social protection framework inclusive of persons with disabilities.

In that regard, she encouraged the Government to continue advancing in the areas of accessibility, education, health, and employment, through the adoption of the necessary measures required to ensure the implementation and enforcement of the Persons with Disabilities Act and other relevant policies.
 
On the other hand, the Special Rapporteur also identified urgent challenges to be addressed, such as the stark disparities between rural and urban areas in relation to accessibility and availability of services. In addition, Ms. Devandas highlighted the situation of persons with albinism, who live in constant fear of being attacked and killed for their body parts, and urged the authorities to protect women and girls with disabilities, who are at heightened risk of sexual and gender-based violence.
 
The human rights expert also drew attention that the situation of persons with psychosocial or intellectual disabilities is of particular concern: “Deprivation of liberty on the basis of disability remains an accepted practice in Zambia,” she said pointing at the widespread assumption that persons with psychosocial or intellectual impairments have no legal capacity due to the lack of ‘mental capacities’.
 
During her stay, the Special Rapporteur visited the Chainama Hills Hospital in Lusaka and the psychiatric unit of the General Hospital in Ndola. “I was particularly appalled by the conditions of the psychiatric unit in Ndola, where persons with psychosocial disabilities are deprived of their liberty without their informed consent, are subjected to seclusion and forced treatment, including forced sterilization of women with disabilities,” she explained.

While she welcomed the efforts undertaken to draft a new Mental Health Bill, she urged the Government “to close the mental health settlements where persons with psychosocial disabilities are confined in remote areas of the country, and to invest instead in adequate and comprehensive community-based supports services.”

Other major challenges encountered by the independent expert are in the area of access to justice. “Complaints of abuse and discrimination by women and girls are mostly overlooked, and the majority of court buildings are inaccessible,” Ms. Devandas said. “Deaf persons are denied access to justice on equal basis with others, as sign language interpretation is not provided in courts.”

The UN Special Rapporteur visited the cities of Lusaka and Ndola, where she met with a variety of senior Government officials, and held discussions with persons with disabilities and their representative organizations, other civil society actors, the UN system, and international cooperation actors.

The UN Special Rapporteur will present a report to the Human Rights Council in 2017 on the main findings of her visit.

Check the Special Rapporteur’s full end-of-mission statement: https://iconnect.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/,DanaInfo=www.ohchr.org+DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=19890&LangID=E


Ms. Catalina Devandas-Aguilar (Costa Rica) was designated as the first Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities in June 2014 by the UN Human Rights Council. Ms. Devandas Aguilar has worked extensively on disability issues at the national, regional and international level with the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund, the UN unit responsible for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the World Bank. Her work has focused on the rights of women with disabilities and the rights of indigenous peoples with disabilities. Learn more, log on to:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Disability/SRDisabilities/Pages/SRDisabilitiesIndex.aspx

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, country page – Zambia: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/ZMIndex.aspx

The UN Zambia in celebrates 68 years of existence

The UN in Zambia celebrated 68 years of existence with a string of activities from October 18 to 29th 2013. Under the UN4U umbrella a discussion was organized and conducted at the University of Zambia, Great East Road Campus.

UN Concert: LtoR Second Lady Charlotte Scott, UN Resident Coordinator Kanni Wignaraja and First Lady Dr Christine Kaseba-Sata, sing the theme song for the concert "Youth Arise"

UN Concert: LtoR Second Lady Charlotte Scott, UN Resident Coordinator Kanni Wignaraja and First Lady Dr Christine Kaseba-Sata, sing the theme song for the concert “Youth Arise”

The UN Resident Coordinator in Zambia, Ms. Kanni Wignaraja had a discussion with 300 students on the work of the United Nations, Post 2015 Campaign and Acceleration of the MDGs and the signature issues for 2014-2015 in Zambia under the themes “state of inequalities” and “the condition of young people” all focusing on the youth on Oct 18, 2013. Bulk sms was also used to inform the general public on this significant day in the United Nations by reaching out to 100, 000 mobile subscribers who received some “did you know” facts about the UN.

A free concert was organized at the Barclays Sports Complex that was graced by the first lady Dr. Christine Kaseba-Sata and second lady Ms. Charlotte Scott. The concert was dubbed “A young Zambia Arise”. Some of Zambia’s renowned artists performed and educated the mostly youthful audience on the MDGs and post 2015 agenda as a way of raising awareness, about 500 people attended the free concert.

A formal event took place at the Taj Pamodzi Hotel on October 29, 2013, with the UNDP’s Goodwill Ambassador His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway; the Vice President of Republic of Zambia, Dr Guy Scott, M.P; the First President, Dr Kenneth Kaunda; the First Lady, Dr Christine Kaseba-Sata; Chiefteness Nkomeshya, the Guest of Honor the Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. Wilbur Simuusa; Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and senior government officials present, the High Commissioners and Ambassadors and other cooperating partners of the UN where also in attendance.

In his remarks the Crown Prince expressed his gratitude at the work that the UN is doing in Zambia and the strides it is making through the various partnerships with government and other cooperating partners, he also reaffirmed

his country’s continued support to the United Nations and the Republic of Zambia.

The out-going Resident Coordinator Ms. Kanni Wignaraja gave a special thanks to the Government and the People of Zambia for their unwavering commitment and support to the United Nations and for its resilience in shaping the future it wants. 250 guest were in attendance.