Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF


Tuesday, 30 October 2012 (afternoon)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is intended for use of the information media and is not an official record. The note provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review and does not cover all points addressed. An official summary of the meeting can be found in the Working Group report.)

State under review ZambiaRepresented by an 11-member delegation headed by Mr. Musa Mweyne, Solicitor General, Minister of Justice


To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit the Zambia page of the UPR website

Troika *

Burkina Faso, Thailand, United States

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on the Zambia page of the UPR extranet)

  • The head of delegation noted that democratic elections were held in 2008 and 2011, the latter resulting in a new government taking office;
  • Zambia was one of only a few Governments in Africa that have twice changed governments from a ruling party to an opposition political party;
  • Zambia’s current constitutional reform process yielded a first draft constitution which proposes the inclusion of protection of economic social and cultural rights, enhanced the protection of human rights of vulnerable groups and contains provisions aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of democratic and good governance institutions and mechanisms;
  • Since the election of the new Government there has been a significant increase in women in decision making positions; the first draft constitution had provisions which will protect women from discriminatory laws and practices in the areas of personal and customary law;
  • In 2011, the Government enacted an Anti-Gender-based Violence Act to provide, inter alia, for the protection of victims of gender-based violence and for the establishment of an Anti-Gender-based Violence Fund; awareness raising was also carried out in this regard;
  • Zambia also enacted the Anti-Human Trafficking Act 2008 which provided for safeguards against the trafficking of persons; a National Policy to Combat Trafficking in Persons and an Inter-Ministerial Task Force were also set up and had established places of safety for both children and adult victims;
  • The Government enacted the Education Act No. 23 of 2011  further enhancing the right of children to education; the Government built schools in most rural areas to improve access to education and has undertaken mass recruitment of teachers for both urban and rural areas;
  • The Zambian Constitution provided a number of protections for individuals within the criminal justice system, including those held in prisons, and the Government has consistently trained law enforcement personnel in basic human rights to ensure they treated every person in accordance with human rights; 
  • The Government has embarked on a process of constructing new prisons in all 10 provinces and Presidential pardons have had a positive effect on reducing overcrowding in prisons;
  • The draft constitution contained clauses that will further enhance children’s rights; the Government was revising the Juveniles Act in order to further strengthen the rights of the child who were in conflict with the law;
  • The Government has also established centres for children living on the street where they were taught skills and allowed to continue to attend school;
  • The Government was implementing a number of HIV, AIDS, STIs and TB cost effective and scientifically proven interventions; various programme were in place that aimed at improving the protection of the rights of persons affected with HIV and AIDS.


In total 63 States participated in the dialogue: 25 HRC members and 38 observers  (Statements available on  the Zambia page of the UPR extranet)

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • The on-going constitutional reform process and efforts to translate international human rights obligations into domestic legislation;
  • The importance attached to health care services, in particular steps to combat HIV/AIDS;
  • The enactment of the 2008 Anti-Human Trafficking Act, the 2011 Anti-Gender Based Violence Act and the 2011 Education Act;
  • Progress achieved in the area of education and the provision of universal primary education;
  • The extension of a standing invitation to Special Procedures;
  • The peaceful transfer of power following the 2011 elections.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • Measures to address violence against women;
  • Efforts to promote and protect the rights of LGBT persons;
  • Steps to combat HIV/AIDS countrywide;
  • Measures taken to enhance the right to health, in particular maternal mortality and reproductive health;
  • Efforts to improve the conditions of prisons and detention centres;
  • Steps to ensure that the results of the constitutional reform process were compliant with international human rights norms.


States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Zambia. These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • Adopting concrete measures to address violence against women, including by criminalizing rape and increased awareness efforts;
  • Implementing measures to address the sexual abuse and exploitation of children as well as child labour and prohibiting corporal punishment in all settings;
  • Ensuring impartial investigations into all allegations of attacks and threats against individuals targeted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and decriminalizing same-sex relationships between consenting adults; 
  • Ensuring that resources were distributed so as to ensure the provision of economic, social and cultural rights for all;
  • Stepping up efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, in particular following up on the recommendations by its National AIDS Council to include men who have sex with men in its HIV/AIDS policy;
  • Allocating specific funding within the health budget for child, maternal and reproductive health and implementing technical guidance produced by OHCHR on maternal mortality;
  • Improving conditions of prisons and detention centres in line with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and implementing related recommendations of the CAT;
  • Formally abolishing the death penalty and commuting death sentences prisons sentences; 
  • Ensuring freedoms of assembly and expression were upheld and respecting the 2003 Supreme Court ruling stating that these freedoms were fundamental;
  • Ensuring that the media was guaranteed the necessary freedoms to carry out their work independently and without fear of prosecution;
  • Holding a transparent and inclusive constitutional reform process and referendum by ensuring that consultative bodies were composed of a representative balance of civil society and government stakeholders;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments:  the 2nd OP to the ICCPR, the OPCAT, the OP to the CESCR, the OP to CEDAW, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd OP to the CRC, the OP to the CRPD, and the Convention on the rights of migrant workers. 

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Zambia is scheduled to take place on Friday, 2 November

  • The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR. 

Media contact: Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, rgomez@ohchr.org