24th January 2018 – THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION CALLS UPON POLITICAL PARTIES TO STOP ACTS OF VIOLENCE AND ENGAGE IN POLITICS OF MUTUAL RESPECT
The Human Rights Commission (HRC ) wishes to condemn the assaulting of National Democratic Congress (NDC) Party supporters by suspected political opponents at Lusaka Central Police Station yesterday where they had escorted Hon. Chishimba Kambwili who was summoned by the Zambia Police Service.
The HRC is deeply concerned at the emerging pattern of violence against NDC Party supporters. The nation may recall that NDC members were recently attacked as they were about to appear on a Radio Station in Lusaka.
Acts of political intolerance should be condemned as they are a violation of human rights, which every democratic country should endeavour to promote and protect. Violence against any individual is a criminal act and the Commission appeals to the Zambia Police Service to act without fear or favour in ensuring that culprits are brought to book in order to end impunity.
Any form of violence should not be tolerated or misconstrued as a legitimate form of political activism or support. There is a need for the Zambia Police Service to send a clear message to all perpetrators that violence is a criminal offence and thus any person committing or suspected of committing such an offence should be arrested and prosecuted in the courts of law.
The culture of party cadres carrying and using dangerous weapons such as machetes should be brought to an end The Commission believes that it is within the powers and means of the Zambia Police Service to decisively deal with such criminal behaviour.
The Commission wishes to also urge political party leaders to provide guidance to, and instil discipline among their members or supporters to refrain from any unlawful conduct or any such behaviour that may contribute to the violation of human rights and freedoms.
In the same vein, politicians across the political divide are urged to tone down on their language and ensure that in exercising their rights and freedoms, they do not violate the rights and reputation of others.
The Commission reiterates the need to embrace dialogue among political parties and other stakeholders in order to mitigate excessive diverse and dissenting views, which are inevitable in a multi-party democracy and pluralistic society such as Zambia.
[The Human Rights Commission is a National Human Rights Institution established under Article 230 of the Zambian Constitution with an overall mandate of ensuring that the Bill of Rights is upheld and promoted]
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION