THE Human Rights Commission (HRC) has welcomed President Edgar Lungu’s announcement to set up a commission of inquiry on political violence during the just-ended general elections.
HRC Chairperson Mudford Mwandenga said the commission would support any measures aimed at establishing facts and finding amicable solutions to continued political violence and violation of human rights.
At his inauguration on Tuesday, President Lungu announced the appointment of a commission of inquiry to probe the incidences of violence that characterized the post-election period. Mr. Mwandenga said the commission was confident that the President would continue to effectively exercise his executive authority as enshrined under Article 91 (3) of the Zambian Constitution (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016, to among other measures, ensure that the diversity in languages and political opinions of the different communities of Zambia were respected as a matter of human rights,
“The HRC recognizes that the Office of the President is critical for any country to facilitate respect and protect human rights and freedoms of citizens and we are ready to provide technical support towards ensuring that the intended Commission of Inquiry met the UN Standard Principles and Guidelines on the establishment and operations of commissions of inquiries, investigative or fact-finding bodies on human rights violations.
“We hope that the Commission of Inquiry will take the form of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and it should cover the pre-election, election and post elections periods in order to establish the root causes of violence and come up with recommendations on how to prevent similar human rights violations happening again,” said Mr. Mwandenga said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mwandenga said the commission was deeply concerned at the continued political reprisals that had been taking place in some selected private and public places such as markets, bus stations and homes.
The injuring, disfiguring or maiming of individuals and destruction of their properties on account of their divergent or dissenting political opinions should never be tolerated as part of political competition in multi-party democracy such as Zambia.