Tag Archives: UNODC

“Your prisoner could be your President”

By Moses Magadza

KABWE, ZAMBIA – The year is 2003.  Mr Lloyd Chilundika, now the Deputy Commissioner General in charge of Operations within the Zambia Correctional Service, is a young Senior Superintendent of Prisons and Officer in Charge for Kamwala Remand Prison in Lusaka. He is having a busy day in the office.

An angry tough-talking man has just been arrested and is led into his office. The unwilling and belligerent guest of the state is holding a cigarette. Despite being in the Officer in Charge’s office, the ‘suspect’ proceeds to take several puffs, filling the office with smoke. Chilundika is not amused but maintains his cool.

“Sir,” he says politely to his guest, “you can’t smoke in here, not even in your cell.”

The accused man turns out to be the now late Michael Chilufya Sata, then a Zambian opposition politician. On that September day, it did not seem probable that the sharp-tongued Sata would became the fifth President of Zambia. Yet that is what happened from 23 September 2011 until  his death on 28 October 2014.

Regardless, Chilundika treated him humanely and even allowed Sata’s wife to bring him nicotine sticks so that he would not smoke in his cell, which was not allowed. Six years later, Sata became President.

On Thursday, 18 July 2019 the world marked the Nelson Mandela Day and reflected on how correctional services are implementing the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the

Inmates at Mukobeko follow a sensitisation activity on the Mandela Rules. Photo: Nonde/UNIC Lusaka/2019

Treatment of Prisoners, now known as the Nelson Mandela Rules. Among other things, the Nelson Mandela Rules encourage Member States to offer prisoners health care services comparable to what obtains in mainstream society free of charge and without discrimination.

On the sidelines of colourful commemorations at Mukobeko Maximum Correctional Facility in Zambia’s Central Province at which inmates received food and non-food items courtesy of UNODC, UN Information Centre, UN Zambia staff and the private sector (Unilever, Unified Chemicals and Freshpikt), Chilundika reminisced about his 2003 encounter with the late President Sata.

In a brief interview he said he treated Sata with respect even though he did not have the foggiest idea that the now late politician – fondly remembered widely as King Cobra on account of his sharp tongue – would become Head of State and Government because he acknowledged “his innate dignity as a human being.”

While calling for practical steps from punitive to rehabilitative custody, Chilundika said Nelson Mandela Day provides an opportunity for correctional services all over the world to reflect and hold candid discussions on what can be done differently to improve care of people in incarceration.

“How do you treat an offender today who can be your President tomorrow? If we can see an offender in the same circumstances in which President Nelson Mandela was as he fought tuberculosis and reflect on the way he was treated, that would be a good standard. Let us recognise the inherent dignity of all people,” he said.

Mr Mwape Kasanda, Assistant Secretary in the Office of the President in Zambia, holds the same view. Speaking when the UNODC Regional Coordinator for Southern Africa Ms Signe Rotberga and other UNODC staff paid him a courtesy call in his office in Kabwe on Nelson Mandela Day, he said access to equitable health care was a human rights issue.

“Health and welfare of people in incarceration are very important. If one is incarcerated, one does not cease to be a human being. Basic rights must be upheld so that rehabilitation efforts are fully supported. Penitentiaries are meant to rehabilitate people. Mandela’s voice and fight for those in prison and the underprivileged must not be forgotten,” Kasanda said.

Dr Charles Msiska, the Provincial Health Director in charge of Central Province led 30 health practitioners including medical doctors from the Ministry of Health to Mukobeko Maximum Correctional Facility and began screening inmates for various health conditions free of charge.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the UN Clinic in Lusaka initiated the screening, which the Ministry of Health enthusiastically embraced. The screening targeted at least 3000 male and female inmates and staff for non-communicable diseases that include hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular conditions; eye diseases; and other diseases that include epilepsy, herpes zoster, asthma and dental carries.

UN staff and partners pose for a photo with correctional service authorities after the presentation. Photo: Nonde/UNIC Lusaka/2019

Msiska told inmates and scores of people that the Minster of Health had personally called him and instructed him to see to it that all inmates at the correctional facility were screened. He explained that in so doing, the Minister had taken leadership in the quest for universal access to equitable heath care and was toeing the line drawn by Zambia’s President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, who has declared that no one would be left behind as the world strives to end AIDS by 2030.

“We have decided that we will also screen all correctional officers. While here, we will not stop until we have seen the last client. No one should be left behind,” he said to applause.

By midday on Thursday, 1000 inmates had been screened. Depending on their conditions, some inmates were treated on site while others were referred to health facilities for further treatment. Rotberga hailed Zambia for lending much-needed political will to efforts to reform, rehabilitate and reintegrate offenders.

“As we reflect on the Nelson Mandela Rules and rules that are specific to health, seeing the work that is being done in Zambia is heart-warming. There is good collaboration between the Zambia Correctional Service and the Ministry of health in line with the Nelson Mandela Rules that say health care services should be organized in close relationship to the public health administration to ensure continuity of treatment and care.”

Chilundika thanked UNODC and other partners for supporting correctional services reforms in Zambia.

“Let us help future generations of correctional officers to adopt practices that would enable them to stand as being part of truly correctional and not largely punitive or retributive facilities,” he said.

Among the highlights of commemorations was a play written and performed by inmates on the rights of inmates. The play shows correctional officers from the old school brutalizing inmates while progressive ones caution them and teach them about the rights of inmates as outlined in the Nelson Mandela Rules.

In providing screening services for inmates, the Zambia Correctional Services and the Ministry of Health have joined Malawi Prison Service, which recently collaborated with the Ministry of Health to screen all female inmates for cervical cancer, in taking health care services to people in prison.

  • Moses Magadza is the Communication Officer at UNODC Regional Office for Southern Africa.

UNODC Hands Over Two Prisoner Rehabilitation Facilities in Zambia

By Joshua Sichinsambwe & Glenda Mweni, Interns, UNIC Lusaka

On Tuesday 9 April 2019 the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) handed over

Officials stand for the National Anthem during the launch

Officials stand for the National Anthem during the launch

to Mwembeshi Maximum Correctional Facility what would be the first-ever state of the art vocational training facility. This structure and its machinery came at a cost of US$150,000. Gracing this spectacular event were Minister of Home Affairs Honourable Steven Kampyongo, MP, UNODC Regional Representative for Southern Africa Ms Zhuldyz Akisheva, UN Zambia Resident Coordinator, a.i. Dr George Okech, and Zambia Correctional Service Commissioner General Dr Chisela Chileshe.

While handing over this correctional facility Mrs Akishev said: “It is my hope that this facility will be used to impart much-needed knowledge and vocational skills and to the prisoners at Mwembeshi Maximum Correctional Facility. I am therefore delighted to learn that with new facility now qualifies to be an exam centre under Technical Educational Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA),” she said.

Speaking at the same event, Dr Chileshe said that poverty is one of the leading causes of crime that make people go to prison. He said that crime should be looked like a disease and this new vocational training centre will be used to remedy the disease of crime even as inmates prepare to reintegrate into their various communities. He added that this is why all prisons in Zambia had been changed to correctional facilities in line with the new mandate which is to rehabilitate and correct inmates into responsible law abiding citizens.

Alarming statistics were given by Hon Kampyongo who remarked that 30% of all inmates were reoffenders and prisons which were supposed to only house 12000 offenders were now housing over 22000. The living conditions of inmates have been compounded by the lack of sympathy from society who must remember that all inmates come from communities and will sooner or later have to go back to their communities. With this said he called upon stakeholders and partners to partner with the government the way UNODC has to help inmates.

The day after this opening, UNODC also handed over a national reintegration centre whose main objective is empowering ex-prisoners to easily be re-integrated into society. The centre was handed over to and will be run by the Zambian Prisoner Reintegration and Empowerment

Inmates sing and dance during Prisoner Reintegration and Empowerment Organization launch

Inmates sing and dance during Prisoner Reintegration and Empowerment Organization launch

Organization (PREO). PREO Board member Princess Kasune, Member of Parliament for Kembe Constituency stated that the issue of reintegration for former inmates is very crucial and cardinal for every parliamentarian or politician as they have more chances to be in prison than any other career. She said the integration of ex inmates and the issue of circumstantial children must be looked into. The UNODC Regional Representative Ms Zhuldyz Akisheva said the principle objective of the United Nations in the area of prison reform is to contribute to successful reintegration of prisoners into society following their release. “When released from prison, ex-prisoners face many challenges and have various reintegration needs such as shelter, food, clothing, capital to initiate projects, educational sponsorship, access to health care, legal issues and others,” she said.

Ms Zhuldyz Akisheva applauded the Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia for providing the space to host the registration centre which will provide the much-needed platform to identify the needs of released prisoners and provide the required linkage services or opportunities in the community. She also recognized the commitment of other stakeholders as well as the Executive Director and founder of PREO Derrick Malumo, a former prisoner, who was wrongly convicted and spent six years in prison for supporting the reintegration of ex offenders.

The two projects were made possible with the support of the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration that was established after the 13th United Nations Crime Congress in Qatar.

UN and UK Partner to Help Zambia fight Trafficking in Persons

By Dawn Heaps, Intern, UNIC Lusaka

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has launched a cooperation programme to support Zambia in the fight against trafficking in persons, with funding from the

High level representatives from the Government and the United Nations who attended the launch of the Trafficking in Persons programme launch. Photo Credit/UNIC/Lusaka/Dawn Heaps

British Government and UKAid.

Launching the intervention in Lusaka recently, Zambia’s Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo underscored the severity of trafficking in persons. “This heinous crime of trafficking in persons leaves scars that are felt both by the trafficked individuals and the society from which they originate. If left unchecked, it has the potential to threaten public safety and national security,” he said.

Mr Kampyongo said that Zambia was committed to fighting Trafficking in persons, evidenced by several activities that include the country being among the first Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states to enact a stand-alone legislation on trafficking in persons which covers prosecution, protection and prevention. He added that Zambia had drafted two national plans of action to combat trafficking in persons.

Speaking at the same event UN Zambia Resident Coordinator Janet Rogan called for cooperation among all stakeholders in curbing human trafficking in Zambia, that had become not only a transit point but destination of victims of human trafficking.

And UNODC Regional Representative for Southern Africa, Zhuldyz Akisheva said that the new initiative offered an opportunity for increased focus protecting victims of human trafficking.

“Focus on victim protection is key in the global partnership against human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants. With the new programme, we have an opportunity to scale up and strengthen our work in Zambia to support a victim-centred approach in addressing human trafficking,” Akisheva said.

Echoing the urgency to act against human trafficking, British High Commissioner to Zambia, Fergus Cochrane-Dyet OBE, noted that the term “modern slavery” had been coined to describe the continuation of the disgraceful trade into modern times.

“This matters a lot because there is a significant Modern Slavery problem in Zambia….Trafficking occurs mostly within Zambia’s borders, with those from rural areas exploited in urban centres, in domestic servitude or sex trafficking, and in conditions of forced labour in sectors such as agriculture, textiles, and mining.

Part of the delegates who attended the launch. Photo Credit/UNIC/Lusaka/Dawn Heaps

According to the Global Modern Slavery Index, produced by the International Labour Organisation, International Organisation for Migration and Walk Free Foundation, in 2018 there were 9.24 million victims of modern slavery in Africa with Zambia accounting for 92,000.

The launch of the cooperation programme marked a milestone in the cooperation between UNODC and the Government of the Republic of Zambia. UNODC has been present in Zambia for the last 10 years, supporting the Zambia Correctional Service in HIV prevention and Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights in prison settings and prison reform to ensure that the use the Minimum Standards of treatment of offenders, commonly known as the Nelson Mandela Rules.

 

Taking action where we can to stop Cybercrime

By Yury Fedotov

The author is the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The op-ed is on the need for cooperation to tackle cybercrime.

Cyber. It is the inescapable prefix defining our world today. From the privacy of individuals to relations between states, cyber dominates discussions and headlines – so much so that we risk being paralyzed by the magnitude of the problems we face.

Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

But we would do well to keep in mind that despite the many outstanding questions on the future of cybersecurity and governance, international cooperation is essential to tackle the ever-growing threats of cybercrime.

Online exploitation and abuse of children. Darknet markets for illicit drugs and firearms. Ransomware attacks. Human traffickers using social media to lure victims. Cybercrime’s unprecedented reach – across all borders, into our homes and schools, businesses, hospitals and other vital service providers – only amplifies the threats.

A recent estimate put the global cost of cybercrime at 600 billion US dollars. The damage done to sustainable development and safety, to gender equality and protection –women and girls are disproportionately harmed by online sexual abuse – is immense.

Keeping people safer online is an enormous task and no one entity or government has the perfect solution. But there is much we can do, and need to do more of, to strengthen prevention and improve responses to cybercrime, namely:

  • Build up capabilities, most of all law enforcement, to shore up gaps, particularly in developing countries; and
  • Strengthen international cooperation and dialogue – between governments, the United Nations, other international as well as regional organizations, INTERPOL and the many other partners, including business and civil society, with a stake in stopping cybercrime.

Cyber-dependent crime, including malware proliferation, ransomware and hacking; cyber-enabled crime, for example email phishing to steal financial data; and online child sexual exploitation and abuse all have something in common besides the “cyber” aspect: they are crimes.

Police, prosecutors and judges need to understand these crimes, they need the tools to investigate and go after the criminals and protect the victims, and they need to be able to prosecute and adjudicate cases.

At the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), we are working in more than 50 countries to provide the necessary training, to sharpen investigative skills, trace cryptocurrencies as part of financial investigations, and use software to detect online abuse materials and go after predators.

As a direct result of our capacity-building efforts in one country, a high-risk paedophile with over 80 victims –– was arrested, tried and convicted. We delivered the training in partnership with the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children and Facebook. This is just one example of how capacity building and partnerships with NGOs and the private sector can ensure that criminals are behind bars and vulnerable children protected.

Working with the Internet Watch Foundation, we have launched child sexual abuse reporting portals – most recently in Belize – so that citizens can take the initiative to report abuse images and protect girls and boys from online exploitation.

With partners including Thorn and Pantallas Amigas we are strengthening online protection and educating parents, caregivers and children about cyber risks through outreach in schools and local communities. Prevention is the key.

UNODC training – focused primarily on Central America, the Middle East and North Africa, Eastern Africa and South East Asia – is also helping to identify digital evidence in online drug trafficking, confront the use of the darknet for criminal and terrorist purposes, and improve data collection to better address threats.

A critical foundation for all our efforts is international cooperation. Our work – which is entirely funded by donor governments – has shown that despite political differences, countries can and do come together to counter the threats of cybercrime.

We are also strengthening international cooperation through the Intergovernmental Expert Group, which meets at UNODC headquarters in Vienna.

Established by General Assembly resolution, the Expert Group brings together diplomats, policy makers and experts from around the globe to discuss the most pressing challenges in cybercrime today. These meetings demonstrate the desire and willingness of governments to pursue pragmatic cooperation, which can only help to improve prevention and foster trust.

As a next step, we need to reinforce these efforts, including by providing more resources to support developing countries, which often have the most new Internet users and the weakest defences against cybercrime.

Tech companies are an indispensable ally in the fight against cybercrime. We need to increase public-private sector engagement to address common concerns like improving education and clamping down on online abuse material.

Countering cybercrime can save lives, grow prosperity and build peace. By strengthening law enforcement capacities and partnering with businesses so they can be part of the solution, we can go a long way in ensuring that the Internet can be a force for good.