Tag Archives: Zambia

The Commemoration of The International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda

On April 6 and April 7 2018 UNIC Lusaka successfully organized two school outreach activities at Ndola Girls Technical Secondary School and St Paul’s Boys Secondary School in the Copperbelt and Central provinces

Pupils at Ndola Girls Technical Secondary School viewing the poster exhibition.

Pupils at Ndola Girls Technical Secondary School viewing the poster exhibition.

respectively, in commemoration of The International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda. 2018 makes it exactly Twenty-four years ago, when more than 800,000 people were systematically killed in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

More than 550 students from Ndola Girls Technical Secondary School and St Paul’s Boys Secondary School participated in the activities which were held from 6 – 7 April 2018. At both schools, apart from offering a brief history on the genocide, UNIC Lusaka staff also showed two videos, a short film documentary titled ‘Kwibuka’ and another video of testimonies by survivors of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

The videos later moderated a heated and enlightening discussion with the participants who passionately talked about the effects of genocide on society and the need to preserve peace

Martin Siame a pupil from St Paul’s Secondary School asking a question on what the United Nations was doing when people were being killed in Rwanda and what role they played in ending the civil war during the question and answer session.

Martin Siame a pupil from St Paul’s Secondary School asking a question on what the United Nations was doing when people were being killed in Rwanda and what role they played in ending the civil war during the question and answer session.

through co-existence among tribal groupings, tolerance, respect for human rights and continued awareness creation among the public.

The programme also had a question and answer session through which UNIC Lusaka clarified a lot of issues on the role of the United Nations in peace and security and advised everyone to learn from the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda tragedy.

Participants also further urged UNIC Lusaka to continue sensitizing children and the youths as they were the future and are in need of such information so that such atrocities and crimes against humanity never occur again.

UNIC Lusaka commemorates International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust

UNIC Lusaka organised commemorative activities to use the Holocaust to promote tolerance, co-existence, conflict prevention and promote peace among different racial, religious and cultural groups in Zambia.

This year’s Holocaust Remembrance was built around the theme, “Holocaust Remembrance and Education: Our Shared Responsibility”. The theme emphasises the universal dimension of the Holocaust and how education about the tragedy should encourage all humankind to firmly reject all forms of racism, violence and anti-Semitism. Shared values can compel people to

Holocaust Outreach 2018

Boy Scouts viewing the butterfly project poster exhibition at the University of Zambia Chapel Lusaka.

embrace dignity and respect for all.

The Holocaust Memorial Ceremony was held on 15 February 2018, at the University of Zambia in Lusaka. The ceremony had over 100 guests who included school pupils, youths from youth led Organisations, representatives from Faith Based Organisations and representatives from Non-Governmental Organisations.

The event had a lineup of activities which included remarks from the Jewish Community in Zambia, the UN Resident Coordinator’s Representative, and the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs, a Jewish Prayer, candle lighting and moment of silence for over 6 million Jews that died, a documentary film:  Children of the Holocaust , a discussion around the holocaust and why education on it is very important, and finally closed with a  poster exhibit: The Butterfly Project: Remember the Children of the Holocaust.

UNIC Lusaka organised two (2) school outreach activities at Kafue Day Secondary School and

Naboye Secondary School Students

Naboye Secondary School Students

Naboye Secondary School in Kafue District, this was done as an effort to reach out to pupils not only in the capital city but rather even pupils outside Lusaka. Using the lesson plan that was provided and the guidelines for use of the posters with school pupils, UNIC Lusaka made the school events very interactive, centred around the pupils themselves.

The events at both schools started with poster exhibitions of the, The Butterfly Project: Remember the Children of the Holocaust, to show the impact of the Holocaust on children, then followed by the video presentation of the Path to Nazi Genocide, so that the pupils can fully and better understand the origin of the Holocaust, remarks from the Mayor of Kafue and closed with a discussion session around the poster exhibition and video to get the pupils views, questions and share their understandings.

 

 

 

UNIC commemorates Human Rights Day

Over 50 youths from Lusaka on December 21, 2017, attended a discussion dialogue in commemoration of the Human Rights Day held at the United Nations Information Center (UNIC) Lusaka.

Group photo of participants

The event which was aimed at discussing various issues concerning people’s rights attracted students from various learning institutions such as the University of Zambia (UNZA), Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (ZICAS) as well as Zambia Center for Professional Training and Consultancy (ZCTC) among others.

Gilbert Kasulwe, a Student at UNZA expressed concern at the levels at which elderly people’s rights are being abused as most of them get accused of practicing witchcraft because of their age.

“Most elderly people’s rights are being abused because the society thinks everyone who has grown very old and has grey hair is a wizard, and it is high time that these people’s rights are protected because not every old human being is practicing witchcraft,” Said Kasulwe

Meanwhile, in a message on the Human Rights Day from the United Nations (UN) Secretary General Mr. Antonio Guterres, he stated that everyone has the right to speak freely and to participate in decision making that affect the people’s rights.

“All of us have the right to speak freely and participate in decisions that affect our lives. We all have a right to live free from all forms of discrimination and we all have a right to education, health care, economic opportunities and a descent standard of living,” said Mr. Guterres.

He further stated that since the proclamation of the Universal Declaration in 1948, human rights have been one of the three pillars of the UN along with peace and development.

UNIC Mobilises Community Members to say ‘NO’ to GBV

The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lusaka, on the 8th of December 2017 successfully sensitized members of Lusaka’s Matero area on Gender Based Violence (GBV) under the localized theme “Leave no one behind.”

Group photo

The event which was attended by representatives from various organizations such as the Young Women Christian Association (YWCA), Young Men Christian Association (YMCA), Kwaza Kuutuka as well as Liberated Hearts Foundation among others attracted a number of residents from the area who were in full support of the fight against GBV.

And speaking at the function, Kwaza Kuutuka Chairman George Chipala, commended the work done by UNIC in ensuring that people are sensitized on the dangers of GBV as this is the core function of the organization he represents.

“I wish to thank the United Nations Information Center for organizing such an event aimed at reducing the cases of GBV as this is in line with our works at Kwaza, and I also thank the residents of Matero for taking part in such an event,” Mr. Chipala said.

The panelists introducing themselves to the gathering (not in picture)

Several suggestions were later made by the residents on how cases of GBV can be brought toan end and among them was the need for parents to talk to the children to ensure that they report all suspected GBV cases to the relevant authorities including the United Nations.

There was an earnest appeal from the community that such outreach programs should not just target specific dates on the calendar but need to be done on a regular basis as this helps create a more aware community who will better identify, respond and action on matters of GBV at a much quicker rate.

There was also a plea for organizations looking into matters of GBV to consider opening or providing safe havens for victims of GBV especially in cases where there is risk of further harm or repercussions to the victims.

The community expressed its gratitude to the continued efforts in sensitizing the people on issues of GBV.

 

 

 

UN Zambia staff dress to say “no” to Gender-Based Violence

By Mark Maseko, UNIC Lusaka

“Where is the party to celebrate? It feels great to be part of the winning team. As ILO we are happy to carry the day,” said Glenda Masebe, Communication Officer at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) office in Lusaka.

About the Contest

On 24 November 2017, about 500 staff in the 14 UN resident agencies in Zambia took part in a

UNICEF Zambia staff in orange attire during the Orange Day.

contest to dress in the colour orange and take group photos which best showed innovation in creating awareness about Gender Based Violence (GBV) which is sexual, physical or emotional violence targeted against women. The contest was held as part of the global 16 Days of Activism Against GBV.

The winning entry

Staff from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) were declared winners for submitting two photos which showed them positioned to spell out the words ‘Stop GBV.’

A winning photo by ILO

“…Big congratulations to Alexio [ILO Country Director for Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique] and the ILO team. Spelling out “STOP GBV” in the two photos was judged as innovative and cool,” said Noala Skinner, UN Zambia Resident Coordinator at the time.

Every office was lit with the colour orange as staff proudly showed off their shirts, dresses, headscarves and other attire before taking group photos as agencies. The next four days had all staff waiting in anticipation for the results.

Gender-Based Violence in Zambia

Although the contest was fun, the most important takeaway is the seriousness and urgency of GBV in the country.

Zambia has witnessed an increase in GBV. While the country has strong cultural traditions that help promote harmony and peace, certain practices and beliefs such as teaching women to endure violence in marriage and that sexual intercourse with a virgin cures HIV, seem to contribute to violence against women and girls. These incidences include child defilement and rape. According to the Zambia Police Service, in 2002, 870 cases of girl child defilement were reported. Between 2014 and 2016, 7,518 girls were defiled. In 2016, the cases of child defilement had risen to over 2,000.

The UN in Zambia commemorates the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people

The United Nations (UN) in Zambia joined the rest of the world in commemorating the 50th anniversary of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People which falls on the 29 th of November anually.

Group Photo: Participants who took part in the International Day of Solidarity with the People of Palestine.

The event which was held at International Labour Organisation in Lusaka was attended by the Ambasssdor of the State of Palestine H.E.Dr. Walid Hassan, the United Nations Developpement Programme(UNDP) Country Representative Ms. Mandiso Mashologo who was representing the UN Resident Coordinator Ms Janet Rogan as well as the Acting Director for Zambia Mine Action Centre in the Ministry of Foreign affairs who was representing the Guest of honor the Director of Political Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mrs. Isabel Lemba.

In her remarks, Mrs. Lemba commended the UN for successfully organising the event under the theme; “peace , freedom and national building,” as it is in line with the values of the Zambian Government.

” I wish to express my gratitude to the United Nations Information Center (UNIC) Lusaka and the Embassy of the State of Palestine for successfully organizaing this year’s observance and I also commend the Government of the State of Palestine for its efforts aimed at finding an amicable solution to the Isreali-Palestine Conflict,” Mrs Lemba said.

Speaking at the same function, H.E.Dr. Hassasn stated that the question of Palestine has always

Students from David Kaunda Secondary School recite a poem on peace.

remained a priority of the UN since its establishement in seeing to it that the people of Palestine have a free State.

” The question of Palestine has remained a standing item and a priority on the United Nations agender since its inception and this institution has adopted resolutions and recommendations that constitute a solid basis of a just and lasting peace,” Dr. Hassan said.

He further said that the people of Palestine await the day when everyone will come together and celebrate the independence of the State of Palestine.

Meanwhile, in a statement read on behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator by the UNDP Country Director Ms. Mandisa , the UN Secretary General Mr. Antonio Guterres stated that during his last visit to Israel and Palestine he met both leaders of the States and encouraged them to create an enabling environment for peace negotiations.

” Last August, during my visit to Isreal and Palestine, leaders on both sides restated their commitment to a negotiated peace, and I encouraged them to tangibly demonstrate this commitment and create the conditions for a retur to meaningful negotiations,” Mr.Guterres said.

He further stated that this is the time to end the conflict by establishing an independent Palestinian State and live in peace with the State of Israel.

Dag Hammarskjöld Remembered

On 20th September 2017, over 50 youths in Lusaka joined the rest of the world in

Dag Hammarskjöld

commemorating the 56th memorial of the death of former United Nations Secretary General (UN) Dag Hammarskjöld who died in a plane crash near Ndola while on a peace mission involving the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1961.

The event which was held at the United Nations House in Lusaka attracted guests that included Swedish Ambassador to Zambia Henrik Cederine and Resident Representative of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Zambia Alexio Musindo (who represented the UN Resident Coordinator Janet Rogan).

In a speech read on her behalf by Mr. Musindo, Ms. Rogan expressed sadness at the use of youths in Zambia as perpetrators of violence.

“It is sad to note that the youth have been used as tools to injure others simply because they belong to a political party different from their own,” Ms. Rogan said. She urged the youths to refrain from violent activities and embrace peace as they are vibrant and can act as agents for change.

His Excellency the Ambassador said that the life of Hammarskjöld shows that one man can make a difference. “Dag Hammarskjöld showed as that one man can make a difference. He followed his own convictions, and he had the ability to shape events as well as tirelessly defending the ideals of the UN charter,” The Ambassador said.

Other institutions such as the Dag Hammarskjöld foundation in Sweden represented by Ms. Karin Abbor-Svennsson, the Pillars of Peace, Global Platform, Zambia Scouts Association as well as Agents of Change were present at the event.

As part of the event, dialogue was held on the role of youths in building peace. Several proposals were later made by participants on how youths can ensure that they are advocates of peace. One of the proposals made was the need for the youths to be actively involved in events that are aimed at promoting peace.

Laying of Wreaths on Cenotaph erected in honour of Mr. Hammarskjold

Laying of Wreaths on Cenotaph erected in honour of Mr. Hammarskjold

On 22nd September 2017 In Ndola, a solemn event was held at the Dag Hammarskjold crash site in honour of the work that Dag did. There were songs, poems and dance with messages of peace. in attendance was the Provincial Minister Hon. Bowman Lusambo, The Swedish Ambassador, Representative of the Dag Foundation in Sweden, the United Nations, various educational institutions and the Defense Forces. The Minister called on the nation to come together and work for peace.

Wreaths were laid at the cenotaph erected in honour of Mr. Hammarskjold and a tour of the crash site was conducted by the Site Manager Mr. Hanguwa who explained a few significant findings at the site such as how long it took the recovery team to reach the site, where Dag was found and how the site was designed in the shape of the plane based on the direction the plane was facing at the time of the crash.

The Sustainable Development Goals: a learning process for private sector, local authorities, the youth and Librarians in the country.

The United Nations Youth Association of Zambia, Chingola Chapter organized a series of discussions on the SDGs with focus on Goal 11 Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable in Chingola, while the other was organized through the Library Association of Zambia (LIAZ). These discussions took place from June 18 through July 21, 2016 at Icon Hotel in Chingola and Fatmols Executive Lodge in Ndola respectively.

The SDGs

The SDGs

The first discussion had youths from different backgrounds in attendance, including students at tertiary level and those in both formal and informal business. During this session they were given a general overview of the SDGs and specific information on goal 11 and its impact on the city of Chingola was given by Charles Nonde, Team Assistant UNIC Lusaka.

Mr, Zulu, Director of Planning at the Chingola City Council, shared some insight in the practical things that the council is doing in realizing SDG 11. He said that the council has partnered with UNEP and will be constructing an energy efficient and sustainable building in the centre of Chingola that will act as a show piece and example for promoting modern day buildings that are also sustainable. He also explained that the council was in the process of obtaining solar street lights and have them installed in various locations of the city as a way of averting the current power deficit being faced countrywide.

Mr. Sakala a private sector ICT entrepreneur who runs an entity called Net Innovation Enterprise in Chingola gave a presentation on how they are incorporating the SDGs as part of their operating strategy and promoting good sustainable business practices.

The Library Association of Zambia (LIAZ) holds its annual general conference in July, this year it was from 19th to 21st July 2016, and extended an invitation to the centre to present on the SDGs and how Librarians and other information professionals can help achieve them through their various channels. A presentation was done by Charles Nonde, Team Assistant together with the LIAZ President Mrs. Velenasi Munsanje. The conference with attended by 80 librarians from different institutions countrywide, encompassing academic and professional bodies.

Information professionals were reminded that libraries make an important contribution to development, it was also highlighted that economic development can be broadened so that it now involves not only the reduction in poverty, inequality and unemployment but also to an improvement in the quality of life which includes a cleaner environment, better education, good health and nutrition.

In our knowledge society, libraries provide access and opportunity for all. Libraries guarantee access to information, a cross-cutting target that supports all SDGs said the LIAZ President.

While SDGs are universal goals, each country is responsible for developing and implementing national strategies in order to achieve them. The relevance of libraries and other specialized units is key to creating awareness and promoting the SDGs by aligning themselves to the specifics of the SDGs.

Mr. Nonde, emphasized that libraries have the responsibility of transforming our world
increasing access to information and knowledge across the society, assisted by the availability of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), supports sustainable development and improves people’s lives

UN Resident Coordinator Janet Rogan tours the Copperbelt: Economic Development and the SDGs

The UN Resident Coordinator in Zambia, Ms. Janet Rogan undertook a one-week tour of the Copperbelt from June 27 to June 30, 2016. During this time, she visited a number of private sector entities in the mining industry at small to large scale from Lufwanyama to Chililabombwe in order to better understand their business models and the various partnerships if any that exist and how they fit into the development agenda of the country and the SDGs. She also visited one of the largest beef producing farms in the country Zambeef located in Mpongwe district, Copperbelt.

Monday June 27

There were two visits to the Provincial Administration; courtesy calls to the Permanent Secretary Rev. Howard J Sikwela and the Commissioner of Police Ms. Charity Katanga

After the visits in Ndola, the mission went to Mpongwe and visited the Mpongwe Agriculture Development Corporation being managed by Zambeef Zambia limited. During the visit, the team was met by Ms. Brenda Lombard who is the Commercial manager. Ms. Lombard gave an outline of the operations of Zambeef and its expansion program in the chicken production unit, where it has plans to supply an average of 300,000 chicks every week. The expansion will create at least 3000 jobs for the locals and ready market for maize for the small scale farmers in and around Mpongwe, as Zambeef would require an average 30,000 tons of maize for stock feed production on a monthly basis.

The mission also visited one of the clinics and school that Zambeef supports. At the school the Ms. Rogan took time to engage with the pupils and discussed the role of the UN in development activities. She encouraged the girl child on the importance of getting an education with the message “school first and babies later”. She also shared the information with the pupils the work of the UN and this was appreciated as there was little knowledge on the subject matter. At the clinic she was given a tour of the facility and the services they provide including provision of ART and management of medical waste. On medical waste management the mission engaged the health staff to explore modern and efficient technologies of waste management that do not only contribute to environmental protection but also mitigate climate change such as autoclave.
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Tuesday June 28

UN Resident Coordinator, Janet Rogan Entourage touring Lufwanyama at Dambisa Mine

UN Resident Coordinator, Janet Rogan Entourage touring Lufwanyama at Dambisa Mine

The day begun with an inception meeting with the Executive Team of the Emerald Mining Association of Zambia in Kitwe. The president of the association gave a brief history of the mining operations on the Copperbelt and that of the Association highlighting the following:
• The need for capacity building to support the small scale miners
• Access to long term financing
• Need to help miners with skills development
• Support towards linkages to big players in the industry

While in Lufwanyama The RC’s entourage visited two small scale emerald mining sites (one operational, the other not) and a large scale mine owned and operated by Gemcanton.

i. The first site visited is owned by Ms. Violet Lewis and at the time of the visit, no mining activities were ongoing as it was flooded which is one of the challenges faced by small mining operations. The flooding occurs due to lack of equipment for pumping water.
ii. The second site visited was at Dabwisa Small Scale Mining Operation owned and managed by Mr. Malan Ngwira, a retired teacher. Despite being small scale, the local investor has mobilized heavy duty machinery to help in the mining of the emeralds. It was also observed that the work force had the appropriate protective gear to enable them work in the hazardous environment.

iii. Visit to Gemcanton/Grizzly Large Scale Emerald Mining: The visit begun with an induction from mine management at which they explained the investment portfolio of the mine. Key lesson at this mine was the deliberate effort to retool local uneducated staff in some of the

Snap shoot of the open pit mine at Gemcanton mine lufwanyama

Snap shoot of the open pit mine at Gemcanton mine lufwanyama

company’s mining chains. Local staff are being recruited to work as sorters, welders, miners and machine operators. After a period of 6 months, the recruited staff are awarded certificates which will enable them to get employed in any mine. The company is also supporting adult evening classes for those who want to learn English. From the time the company took over the operations of the mine in 2015, they have managed to increase the workforce from 300 to 700.

The team was then taken on a tour of the mining operations on site that included the open pit mine, the washer and sorting areas.

Gemcanton Management also reaffirmed its commitment to support other mining operations in the area and exploring possible partnerships with small scale miners especially in helping to negotiate better prices as they have global links with key players in the sector. They requested the UN to continue supporting the policy framework that would enable them to operate effectively. The issue of electricity supply was cited as a key challenge that the sector is facing. Furthermore, there is need for government to develop infrastructure such as roads to support the sector.

Wednesday June 29

Visit to Konkola Copper Mines, Chililabombwe and Nchanga

One of the anode making sections at Nchanga Mine in Chingola

One of the anode making sections at Nchanga Mine in Chingola

After meeting management at the headquarters of KCM, the team was taken on a tour of the underground mining operations in Chililabombwe and operations at Nchanga, Chingola and shown the process of how the copper anodes are produced.

Thursday June 30

Private Partnership meeting Mukuba Hotel, Ndola

Private Partnership meeting Mukuba Hotel, Ndola

Private Sector dialogue at Mukuba hotel, the RC delivered a speech at this forum and also gave an exclusive interview to the media houses present on the side lines of the dialogue. Among the issues she spoke on included the referendum, the bill of rights and its meaning to the people of Zambia.

The RC lead the discussion and advocacy on how the private sector could be part of the global development agenda through the UN led concepts on Business Call to Action and the Global Compact
Ndola Energy Limited (NEL) – Power producer (50 MW) from heavy fuels

After the the private sector dialogue meeting in the morning, the RC Team visited Ndola Energy, the team was oriented in the inner working of the plant and given a safety talk before being taken around the plant. The visitors learnt that NEL sells its power to ZESCO and depends on Indeni for its raw materials FCO that it uses in the production of electricity. The purpose of the visits was to engage with different players in the energy sector on how they can contribute towards the attainment of SDG 7, Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all and also contribute to the country’s energy mix

Friday July 1

Visit to Kitwe- Zambia Homeless and Poor People’s Federation

RC meeting with the women's group in kitwe

UN Resident Coordinator meeting with the women’s group in kitwe

The purpose of this visit was to showcase some of the women who have not only benefitted from housing units but also skills that they have obtained in assembling solar panels and installing them. The women’s group also makes its own bricks which it uses to construct houses in the area. Of the 150 plots given 100 of them have fully constructed units or are in various stages of completion.

Ms. Bupe the coordinator of the Federation explained that the financial support that the women received for raw materials was in the form of a loan that acted as revolving fund to help those in need of assistance.

One of the women took the team around her house and explained how she was able to design and install an electrical system for the solar panel, she also explained that she earns some extra income from the skills she obtained in assembling and installing solar systems within the neighborhood and beyond. RC congratulated the women for commitment and advised them to transform the initiative into a business.

“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