1. The Committee considered the second periodic report
of Zambia (CCPR/C/63/Add.3 and HRI/CORE/1/Add.22/Rev.1) at its 1487th
to 1489th meetings (see CCPR/C/SR.1487-1489), on 26 and 27 March 1996.
At its 1498th meeting, on 3 April 1996, the Committee adopted the following
2. The Committee welcomes the submission of the second
periodic report and expresses its appreciation to the State party for
the resumption of a constructive dialogue with the Committee. The Committee
regrets, however, that although the report provides information on general
legislative norms in Zambia, it largely fails to deal with the actual
state of implementation of the Covenant in practice and the difficulties
encountered in the course of implementation. The Committee appreciates
the presence of a delegation which provided helpful information to the
Committee in addressing its questions and thus allowed it to obtain
a somewhat clearer view of the overall situation in the State party.
Unfortunately, the delegation did not include experts on all the issues
dealt with in the report or on issues usually raised by the Committee
during the consideration of the reports of States parties.
B. Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Covenant
3. The remnants of certain traditions and customs constitute an obstacle
to the effective implementation of the Covenant, particularly with regard
to equality between men and women.
C. Positive aspects
4. The Committee recognizes that the State party has begun
amending its domestic legislation to bring it into line with the Covenant.
5. The Committee welcomes the introduction of a multi-party
system of government as well as efforts undertaken by the State party
to strengthen democratic institutions and the multi-party system. In
that regard, it takes note of the establishment of a Commission to review
the Constitution and of the adoption of measures designed to strengthen
the rule of law. It further welcomes the setting up of the Munyama Human
6. The Committee appreciates the efforts made by the Government
to implement views adopted by the Committee under the Optional Protocol.
D. Principal subjects of concern
7. The Committee notes with concern that steps still remain
to be taken to harmonize the Constitution with the Covenant and to develop
democratic institutions and human rights machinery for better implementation
of the Covenant.
8. The Committee also notes with concern that the equality
clause in section 11 of the Constitution and the non-discrimination
clause in section 23 do not apply to non-citizens and that there are
other exemptions in section 23 which are not compatible with articles
3 and 26 of the Covenant.
9. The Committee expresses its concern over the situation
of women who, despite some advances, continue to be de jure and
de facto the object of discrimination, particularly as regards education,
access to work and participation in the conduct of public affairs. The
application of customary laws in matters of personal status, marriage,
divorce and inheritance rights reinforces outdated attitudes concerning
the role and status of women. The Committee also regrets the lack of
measures to adequately address problems raised with regard to violence
against women and the high maternal mortality resulting from abortion.
10. Section 43 of the Constitution, which restricts the
right of individuals to pursue civil remedies against the President
in the courts for anything done in his private capacity, is incompatible
with the provisions of article 14 of the Covenant.
11. The Committee regrets that the proclamation of a state
of emergency in March 1993 was not notified to the Secretary-General
in accordance with article 4, paragraph 3, of the Covenant. The Committee
also regrets the lack of clarity of the legal provisions governing the
introduction and administration of a state of emergency, particularly
sections 31 and 32 of the Constitution, which would permit derogations
contravening the State party's obligations under article 4, paragraph
2, of the Covenant. The Committee is also concerned that the derogation
of rights permissible under section 25 of the Constitution goes far
beyond that permissible under article 4, paragraph 2, of the Covenant.
12. The Committee is concerned that the rights contained
in articles 7, 9 and 10 of the Covenant are not fully respected. The
Committee is concerned in particular that torture and ill-treatment
of persons deprived of their liberty continue to be reported and that
abuses allegedly committed by police officers and members of security
forces are not duly investigated by an independent body.
13. The Committee welcomes the establishment of the National
Committee on Penal Reform. It is, however, greatly concerned at the
poor conditions in places of detention and the lack of implementation
of guarantees in article 10 of the Covenant as well as in the United
Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
14. The Committee is concerned that three journalists
were found to be in "gross contempt of the National Assembly"
without any of the procedural guarantees of fair trial provided for
by articles 9 and 14 of the Covenant and that two of these journalists
were held in indefinite detention before release, contrary to the provisions
of article 9 of the Covenant and even contrary to section 13 of the
Constitution and sections 27 and 28 (3) of The National Assembly (Powers
and Privileges) Act.
15. The Committee is also concerned by reports of arrests
and charges against journalists for the publication of newspaper articles.
Use of the criminal process to ensure accountability of the press for
the veracity of its reports is not compatible with article 19 of the
Covenant. Robust and even harsh criticism of government figures is an
essential part of free speech in a democratic country.
16. The Committee is concerned that the proposals made
by the Constitutional Review Committee in regard to appointment of judges
of the Supreme Court by the President after their retirement and the
removal of Supreme Court judges by the President, subject only to ratification
by the National Assembly without any safeguard or inquiry by an independent
judicial tribunal, are incompatible with the independence of the judiciary
and run counter to article 14 of the Covenant.
17. The Committee is also concerned that no measures are
taken that pregnancy or parenthood do not affect the continuous education
18. The requirement to sing the national anthem and salute
the flag as a condition of attending a State school, despite conscientious
objection, appears to be an unreasonable requirement and to be incompatible
with articles 18 and 24 of the Covenant.
19. The Committee is further concerned that provisions
in the Penal Code which fix eight years as the age of criminal responsibility
and which permit children to be charged jointly with adults to be tried
in the ordinary criminal courts appear to be incompatible with articles
14, paragraph 4, and 24 of the Covenant.
E. Suggestions and recommendations
20. The Committee strongly encourages the Government to
undertake a thorough review of the legal framework for the protection
of human rights in the State party to ensure full conformity with the
Covenant. It recommends that appropriate institutions be set up in order
to effectively promote the observance of human rights.
21. The Committee recommends that the State party review
its laws and make appropriate amendments, including the abrogation of
subsections 23 (4) (c) and (d) of the Constitution, to ensure full legal
and de facto equality for women in all aspects of social and economic
relationships and, particularly in the laws governing the status of
women, women's rights and obligations in marriage. It emphasizes the
need for the authorities to increase efforts to prevent and eliminate
persisting discriminatory attitudes and prejudices against women. Comprehensive
anti-discriminatory laws covering both the private and the public spheres
should be introduced as well as, where appropriate, affirmative action
22. The Committee recommends that the authorities adopt
legislation to bring the domestic legal regime, including section 25
of the Constitution, into harmony with the State party's obligations
under article 4 of the Covenant.
23. The Committee recommends that, in view of the current
debate referred to in paragraph 18 of the report and the fact that there
have been no executions since 1988, the State party consider taking
measures for the abolition of the death penalty and the ratification
of or accession to the Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant.
24. The Committee urges the authorities to take the necessary
steps to ensure that torture, ill-treatment and illegal detention do
not occur and that any such cases are duly investigated by an independent
authority in order to bring before the courts those accused of having
committed such acts and to punish them if found guilty. The Committee
also recommends that the report of the Munyama Human Rights Commission
be published as soon as possible and that the State party move for the
reform of penal law and practice.
25. The Committee recommends that steps be taken in law
and in practice to implement fully the provisions of article 10 of the
Covenant as well as United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment
of Prisoners and to make relevant laws and regulations governing the
treatment of persons deprived of their liberty known and accessible
to the prisoners themselves as well as the police, armed forces, prison
personnel and other persons responsible for holding interrogation. Urgent
steps should be taken to reduce the number of prisoners through the
review of sentences, by speeding up trials or otherwise.
26. The Committee recommends the abolition of imprisonment
for civil debt, in compliance with article 11 of the Covenant.
27. Corporal punishment should be abolished, in accordance
with article 7 of the Covenant.
28. The Committee recommends that mere criticism by journalists
of government officials should not be made a criminal offence.
29. The Committee welcomes the release under court order
of two journalists who were detained after being found to be in contempt
of the National Assembly. It trusts that the third journalist censured
by Parliament will not be detained. It urges that in future all cases
in which people are suspected of contempt of Parliament be dealt with
by the courts in a manner consistent with all requirements of the Covenant.
30. The Committee calls upon the State party to prepare
its third periodic report in compliance with the Committee's guidelines
for the preparation of State party reports (CCPR/20/Rev.1). The report
should in particular include detailed information on the extent to which
each right is enjoyed in practice, and refer to specific factors and
difficulties that might impede its application. In undertaking this
obligation, the State party may wish to avail itself of the Advisory
Services and Technical Assistance Programme of the United Nations Centre
for Human Rights.