International Women’s Day National Organising Committee petitioned
LUSAKA, February 27, 2014, ZANIS — A consortium of Four Civil Society Organisations has petitioned the International Women’s Day National Organising Committee to highlight the conditions of women prisoners in the country.
Representing the consortium, Executive Director of Age Justice International Phillimon Phiri observed that incarcerated women prisoners in Zambia face a lot of human rights violations which need to be immediately addressed.
The consortium consists of AGE Justice International, Samaritan Strategy Foundation of Zambia, Association for Restoration of Orphans and Street Children, and Nkhosa Transformation Development Trust
This is contained in a letter addressed to the organising committee at the Ministry of Gender and Child Development and copied to ZANIS, today signed by Mr Phiri.
He said that women prisoners face many hardships such as poor health facilities, accommodation and inadequate food provisions.
He further said that the problem is further compounded by inadequate ideal staffing levels needed to respond to the needs and situation of the women prisoners.
Mr Phiri urged the Patriotic Front (PF) Government to take advantage of this year’s International Women’s Day by honouring and fulfilling the 2011 election campaign promises of improving the living conditions of prisoners.
He observed that though Zambia is a signatory to International and regional conventions and instruments on women’s rights, there is urgent need to domesticate them to Zambian environment.
The International Women’s Day falls on March 8 every year to commemorate women around the globe.
According to the Zambia Human Rights Report of 2010, the Zambia Human Rights Commission observed that “the Zambian Prison facilities that were in place were primarily designed for male convicts.”
“There were certain vulnerable groups whose specific needs were not taken into account in the prison environment,” read the report in part’.
It adds that the vulnerable groups included women, juveniles and circumstantial children. With regard to women, the Commission found that the prison environment did not provide women with basic necessities, such as appropriate accommodation.