Human Rights Commission statement on allegations of condoning torture in Zambia

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The Human Rights Commission (HRC/Commission) wishes to dispel the unfounded allegation by few individuals that it does not condemn acts of torture.

There is sufficient credible evidence that the Commission continues to be a lead institution in protecting human rights, including combating acts of Torture and Other Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of suspects.

The Commission always investigates allegations of torture and support victims to secure redress while recommending for punishment of perpetrators where such allegations have been established.

The fact that the Commission has so far not condemned the unverified allegations of torture and abductions relating to one or two individuals does not mean that the commission tolerates or has refused to condemn acts of torture. To the contrary, it means that the Commission is committed to its core principles of being independent and professional by undertaking independent investigations of allegations of any form of human rights violations or abuse, where such violations or abuses are not evident.

It would be unfair to influence the Commission to render credence to unverified allegations of torture and abductions relating to specific individuals who have in any case already reported such allegations to various institutions for investigations and action. The Commission is already investigating such allegations but will meanwhile refrain from making a statement specific to the respective allegations in order to avoid jeopardizing the on-going investigations and prejudicing the interests of the alleged victims.

Therefore, the calls by one or two individuals to disband the Commission on account of the alleged failure to condemn such unverified allegations is unwarranted and inconsiderate to the interests and wellbeing of the majority vulnerable people who are appreciating the valuable work of the Commission countrywide.

The Commission wishes to assure the public that it will remain independent and professional and serve everyone without any form of discrimination. Therefore, any attempt to influence the Commission to serve sectarian or special interests is clearly not in the national interest must not be allowed.

Finally, the Commission wishes to reiterate its call to enact a law that criminalises torture in Zambia, which will also provide adequate penalties against perpetrators and compensation to victims of torutre.

Enacting an anti-torture law will also provide sufficient guidance to various individuals and institutions on what constitutes torture and inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in accordance with established international human rights law.

Tags :
allegations,human rights,Torture
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