Advocacy for Good Governance, Gender Equity and Justice International (AGE) is saddened that Zambian prisoners’ health and human rights conditions have remained pathetic.
AGE Executive Director Philemon Phiri said despite government declarations that it would improve health standards in prisons, only minimal signs of improvement have been shown.
Mr. Phiri observed that most prisoners in Zambia have been living in health threating conditions for some time now.
He further observed that the prisons lack directory recommendation on health facilities, such as special foods for people living with HIV and AIDS and circumstantial children whose mothers are on antiretroviral treatment.
Mr. Phiri noted that there were only 87 prisons across the country with only 15 clinics that have 25 clinical officers under the supervision of a few Doctors.
He expressed worry over the congested prisons which are meant to accommodate only 8,100 prisoners and remandees but currently have 18, 560 inmates.
He alleged that due to limited space in prisons, there has not been serious screening of new inmates especially the prohibited immigrates who are incarcerated with other inmates in the same cells.
Mr. Phiri also pointed out that there was need to separate juveniles, pregnant women and mental patients because of poor sanitary living conditions in prisons.
He further said according to the UN declaration, prisoners enjoy all human rights, apart from the restriction on freedom of movement and association.
Mr. Phiri has since appealed to government to quickly recommend the review of Prison Act as it is not in favour of prisoners but allows torture, other cruel acts and degrading treatment.-Zanis