Zambian delegation at UN Human Rights Review not attending meeting, just shopping

The United Nations Human Rights Commission (HRC) will review Zambia’s Human rights performance on Tuesday, October 30th, 2012.

Officials of 193 other countries are currently in Geneva, Switzerland to answer questions and show progress on their respective countries’ performance in Human Rights.

But the Zambian delegation led by Solicitor-General Musa Mwenya is not taking the proceedings seriously, according to delegates from an African country.

The more than 10 Zambian government officials who are in Geneva are not attending sessions but instead going shopping and sightseeing in the famous streets of Geneva.

The UPR (Universal Periodic Review) is a Human Rights Council mechanism which is used to measure UN member States’ progress in promoting and protecting Human Rights. The process works through member states being reviewed by their peers within the HRC. The first round of the reviews was done in 2008 and Zambia at the time was among the first countries to undergo the review. Zambia made several commitments which are referred to as accepted recommendations.

See the 2008 report for Zambia here

The country is expected to implement these recommendations. After four years which is the cycle for the reviews, all the UN member states who are members of the HRC have been reviewed. This time around, the review (2nd round) is focus on the accepted recommendations from round 1.

Zambia will have to report on its progress. But Zambia seems unprepared for the review.

Informed government sources have explained to the Watchdog that prior to getting to this stage, Zambia should have done an assessment of its implementation and then come up with a self-assessment report which forms the basis for the review.

Sources say this self-assessment report was done but very poorly done and in fact the Zambian government just hired a consultant to draft the report.

On Monday, 30th October, Zambia will be reviewed for three hours.

HRC member states will ask questions after Zambia presents the report and then a number of recommendations will be made to Zambia.

But instead of sitting through session to listen to how other countries are responding to questions, the Zambian delegation which included the Zambian diplomats based in Geneva is always missing on its desk.

The Zambian delegation is supposed to sit in the same phew with Zimbabwe, but the bench for Zambia is always empty only the flag is seen,

Indicators so far are that Zambia will get a very bad report which may even be worse than that of 2008.

According to sources in government, Zambia’s Civil and political rights are in the negative, media freedom is at its worst; access to justice still remains a challenge except for the connected few.

Most countries are likely to push Zambia to improve on its human rights situations which has sadly been going down since PF came to power.

Zambia is likely get some praise from countries like China, Iran and a number of OTHER dictatorships

You can follow the live review of Zambia here

The UPR was created through the UN General Assembly on 15 March 2006 by resolution 60/251, which established the Human Rights Council itself. It is a cooperative process which, by 2011, will have reviewed the human rights records of every country. Currently, no other universal mechanism of this kind exists. The UPR is one of the key elements of the new Council which reminds States of their responsibility to fully respect and implement all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The ultimate aim of this new mechanism is to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur.

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