Amnesty International cites Zambia for Human Rights abuse

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President Lungu

The Amnesty International report has cited Zambia for oppression, abuse of human rights which the report says saw leading opposition leader jailed and Musician flee the country.

Below is the report which also singles out Zimbabwe under fallen Dictator Robert Mugabe who had ruled the country for 37 years.


  • Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018
  • Governments are rolling back decades of human rights progress and silencing those who speak out
  • However there is hope “as courageous people and activists take to the streets to demand their rights”, says Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International Southern Africa.


People across the world faced a deepening human rights crisis fuelled by growing intolerance of dissent and a rise in politics of hate and fear, warned Amnesty International today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights covers 159 countries, including 11 in Southern Africa, delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today. In the region, the report warns that the space for human rights defenders, activists, journalists and opposition political parties was increasingly restricted.

“2017 was a terrible year for human rights in Southern Africa. We have witnessed widespread punishment of dissenting voices and politically-motivated attacks on peaceful protests, as well as growing inequalities and precarious access to social and economic rights,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.

“But there are glimmers of hope. For example, the departure of Robert Mugabe from Zimbabwe’s political scene after 37 years in power in which he presided over the brutal repression of political opponents offers a new window of opportunity for the country and people claiming their rights.”

World leaders abandon human rights, igniting protest movements globally 

Amnesty International warns that in the absence of global leaders standing up for human rights, governments are shamelessly turning the clock back on decades of hard-won protections.  

Signs of regression cited in the report include clampdowns on peaceful protests in Zambia, and attempts to roll back women’s rights to access sexual and reproductive health and rights in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Yet these regressive policies have inspired many people to join long-standing struggles, and the report details many important victories that human rights activists helped to secure. These include the indefinite postponement of the amendment to the proposed penal code in Angola which woulddecriminalize abortion in all cases without exception after public outcry.

Across Southern Africa, courageous people and activists refused to give in to government repression and took to the streets to claim their human rights under difficult circumstances. In Zimbabwe, Pastor Evan Mawarire of the #ThisFlag movement was acquitted in November after facing court charges simply for campaigning against corruption, human rights violations and the declining economy.

“The indomitable spirit of human rights activists leading powerful movements reminds us that the thirst for equality, dignity and justice will never be extinguished. There is a palpable sense that protest movements are on the rise globally. If governments stand against such movements, they will erode their legitimacy,” said Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International. 

Freedom of expression takes on colossal importance in the renewed battle for human rights

“In 2018, we cannot take for granted that we will be free to gather together in protest or to criticize our governments. In fact, speaking out has become more dangerous” warned Salil Shetty.

Throughout SADC, there was “persecution through prosecution” against   human rights defenders and opposition leaders, said the report.

“Whether it was Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe or Edgar Lungu of Zambia, leaders used the criminal justice system to silence human activists and their political opponents,” said Deprose Muchena.

HH after treason court hearing

Zambia’s main opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development (UPND), was jailed for four months on trumped up politically motivated charges and later released after the authorities realized that they could not sustain any criminal charge against him.

File: Pilato arrested

Musician and activist Fumba Chama, also known as Pilato – left Zambia on 5 January after receiving threats over his new song Koswe Mumpoto (rat in the pot), which has been interpreted as criticising President Edgar Lungu and his ruling Patriotic Front (PF) ministers. He also faced harassment in 2017 for leading protests against corruption.

Clovis Razafimalala, a Malagasy environmental activist, was released from Tamatave prison after 10 months’ pre-trial detention on trumped-up charges of organizing a protest.

Governments must address the burning injustices fueling protest movements 


The report also notes that millions of people worldwide are facing increasingly precarious access to basic goods and services such as housing, food and health care. Amnesty International warned that unless governments tackle the underlying causes of poverty and inequality, there is huge potential for even greater unrest.

Throughout the region, there are persistent worries about the rising levels of people living below the poverty line. In Madagascar, poverty was widespread. Access to food, water, health care and education remained a privilege for the few.

In Zimbabwe, economic instability, drought, high poverty levels and unemployment were some of the obstacles for many to access education, health and food. Children are affected by extreme poverty and their chances of succeeding in life are slim.

South Africa remains one of the highest unequal countries in the world today. Profound inequalities are continuing to undermine economic, social, and cultural rights for millions of South Africans.

“Across the world and in the SADC region, people are being forced to live an intolerable existence because they are being denied access to food, clean water, healthcare and shelter. If you take away these human rights, you breed despair with no limit or end. From Angola to Zambia, South Africa to Zimbabwe, we are witnessing the growth of a ferocious social discontent,” warned Salil Shetty.

“If leaders fail to discern what is driving their people to protest, then this ultimately will be their own undoing. People have made it abundantly clear that they want human rights: the onus now is on governments to show that they are listening and responding.”



Amnesty International has documented the human rights situation in 2017/18 in 159 countries, including 11 in Southern Africa. The organisation has documented varying human rights violations, including:

Angola: Peaceful protesters were met with violent repression, while government critics faced criminal defamation suits.

Botswana: A restrictive encampment policy continued, denying refugees their right to freedom of movement, work and local integration.

Lesotho: The continued political and security crisis led to a sharp increase in human rights violations. Freedom of expression remained severely restricted.

Malawi: The threat to lives of people with albinism remained, with at least two people killed in 2017.

Namibia: The right to adequate housing was restricted and was exacerbated by high levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

Swaziland: Forced evictions continued to be carried out. Colonial era laws continued to be used to unduly restrict the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

Zambia: Authorities mounted a crackdown on dissent, including human rights defenders, journalists and opposition political party members. Main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema was unjustly jailed for four months.

Zimbabwe: Activists and human rights defenders continued to mobilize to hold the government to account through peaceful protests on the streets and via social media. President Robert Mugabe resigned in November after 37 years in power.


2 Responses to Amnesty International cites Zambia for Human Rights abuse

  1. What a shame to the Zambian police to illtreat the opposition leader HH for no apparent reason or just for the benefit of that satanic leader or drug dealer or that thief(LUNGU).At first I was thinking that Zambian police who understand peoples problems, kanshi tefyo you are as fools as your leader who is heading to be a dictator.
    I Better warn you Zambian police to remember that ,that person whom you are trying to protect ,one day he will be out of power because I trust the Zambian people ,they are not been fooled like other people we see in our neighbouring country where once there leader says something they all follow without challenging him.

    Dewin k sinkamba
    February 22, 2018 at 2:55 pm


    February 23, 2018 at 12:42 pm

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