GOVERNMENT denies any abuse of human rights

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GOVERNMENT has denied any abuse of human rights as alleged by a report compiled by the United States of America.
Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba says the 2012 Zambia Report on Human Rights does not reflect the correct picture of the overall human rights and governance situation in the country.
Mr Kabimba says the Zambian government finds the report done by the US Department of State “fraught with factual errors and inaccuracies”.
“Some allegations in the report are either unsubstantiated or not supported by any empirical evidence at all. The sources are only known to the authors and their authenticity is unverifiable,” Mr Kabimba says.
This is contained in a response by the Zambian government to the US Department of State 2012 Human Rights Report signed by Mr Kabimba.
The response is addressed to the US ambassador to Zambia Mark Storella.
In the report, the US government raised concern about the Public Order Act and alleged beatings of Gary Nkombo, the United Party for National Development member of Parliament for Mazabuka.
The report also makes reference to the arrest of opposition leaders.
“Serious human rights abuses occurred during 2012. The most important were abuses by security forces, including unlawful killings, torture, beatings, life-threatening prison conditions, restrictions of freedom of speech, assembly and association,” the US report reads.
The report further accuses Government of generally not taking steps to prosecute officials who committed the abuses.
But Mr Kabimba cited examples where the law applied equally even to Patriotic Front (PF) cadres.
He said in April 2013, Police in Solwezi arrested 10 PF district officials and detained them overnight for unlawful assembly.
On the alleged beatings of Mr Nkombo, Mr Kabimba said prison records can prove that the MP fell while playing social football with prisoners.
“I have perused the 2012 Human Rights Report. In the interest of transparency and good governance, it is only fair that the report and our government’s response to the issues raised be made public through the media,” Mr Kabimba says in his letter to Mr Storella.