UPR of Zambia: drafting of new constitution important opportunity to ensure full protection for all
Monday, 05 November 2012 10:55


Zambia participated in its second review under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on 30 October. Leading the delegation was Mr Musa Mwenye, minister of Justice of Zambia, who highlighted the important constitutional reform process that the State is going through. During the interactive dialogue, many States applauded Zambia’s initiative to improve human rights and the balance of power between institutions through this process. However, States also noted the importance for Zambia to use this process as a tool to ratify international treaties, particularly the second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, on abolition of the death penalty, which was a key recommendation during the first UPR cycle.


Another important concern expressed by States during the interactive dialogue were the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Various States regretted Zambia’s rejection of recommendations to decriminalise consensual same-sex relationships during the first UPR cycle. States highlighted the need to respect and protect LGBT rights as an essential element of any national human rights policy. It was recommended to Zambia to consider a provision on the drafting of the constitution regarding this issue.  Mr Mwenye did not directly address LGBT rights during his response, only stating that the Government of Zambia is committed to assure equal civil and political rights to all its people.


States were also pleased with the progress of Zambia concerning citizens’ access to healthcare, especially promoting the fight against HIV/AIDS, which is prevalent in Zambia. States noted that as a result of certain preventative measures established by the Government, Zambia is on its way to meet the Millennium Development Goals target on HIV/AIDS prevalence. Nonetheless, subsequent recommendations were made to continue efforts that address and lessen the HIV/AIDS impact on women and children, in particular, mother-to-child transmission.


Despite progress noted in these areas by both the delegation and States participating in the interactive dialogue, recurrent recommendations from the first cycle included:


  • Consider ratifying the optional protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), enabling its citizens to bring allegations of violation of the convention by Zambia directly to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
  • Continue its efforts to improve its educational system and seek international assistance in this regard
  • Continue improving the living conditions of detainees and ensure measures are taken to reduce over-crowding in prisons
  • Ensure that each allegation of torture or ill-treatment by police officers is seriously investigated, prosecuted, and punished and adequate reparation be granted to victims


Among new recommendations were:


  • Adopt and implement appropriate measures to address the sexual abuse and exploitation of children as well as child labour
  • Ensure effective implementation of the Anti-Gender-Based Violence Act with particular focus on victims’ access to justice
  • Complete the alignment of its national legislation with all obligations under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
  • Improve coordination between national institutions that participate in the implementation of recommendations made by the Human Rights Council


Zambia’s delegation did not address some of the most specific concerns raised by States and failed to provide extensive responses. The majority of its time was used to present its national report, before States could make their recommendations and ask for further clarification on certain issues.  During its final remarks, the delegation was very defensive, correcting some of the statistics brought up by States during the dialogue and not responding to particular concerns. 



There were a total of 135 recommendations made to Zambia during the interactive dialogue, by 63 States.  Zambia decided to adopt 70 recommendations right away, while 54 will be put under review and a decision made no later than the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council in March 2012. One single recommendation was rejected, a recommendation from the Netherlands to include men having sex with other men in its HIV/AIDS policies.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 November 2012 16:41
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