Torture in Zambia: The Role of the Permanent Human Rights Commission in Monitoring Zambia's Compliance With the Convention Against Torture
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Torture is a topical subject in Zambia these days. Not only do reports indicate that the practice is as pervasive today as it was during the Second Republic, but they show that there appears to be tacit approval from the government for the widespread infliction of torture on suspects, particularly political opponents of the ruling party. United Nations documents reveal that Zambia is one of the countries in world where the nefarious crime of torture is committed. During former President, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda's rule, there were strong rumours or allegations that torture was practised but no public commission of inquiry was ever established to investigate them. With the dawn of the Third Republic and democratic rule under President Frederick Chiluba, the Munyama Human Rights Commission was established to, inter alia, investigate allegations of torture during the Second and Third Republics2. The Commission unearthed overwhelming evidence of torture in Zambian police cells and prisons . The Commission also found appalling conditions in prisons.The dawn of democratic rule in 1991 and the wave of human rights awareness that has washed over the country since then, has, however, failed to put a stop to the practice of torture in Zambia. In fact, allegations and reports of torture are being unearthed more frequently than ever before5. That torture is a problem in Zambia, is beyond question. The problem is formulating measures for its eradication in the face of a truant and indifferent government.This study's primary objective is to suggest ways in which the Permanent Human Rights Commission of Zambia can play an effective role in the elimination of torture.
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