Zambia’s human rights body on Tuesday called on key political players in the country to embrace dialogue in order to curb continued human rights violations.

lungu-and-HHThe Human Rights Commission (HRC) said the prevailing political animosity between the country’s two main political parties, the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) and the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), was endangering the maintenance of law and order and perpetuating infringement on people’s rights.

“It is the considered view of the Commission that the continued violations of individual rights such as the right to life, protection from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, arbitrary and over-detention of suspects, violations of the rights to freedom of association, assembly and expression, are symptoms of deep-rooted political grievances that need to be addressed through political dialogue,” Mudford Mwandenga, the chairperson of the human right body said in a statement.

The human rights body has since called on the two political parties to open dialogue and resolve outstanding issues that maybe contributing to a hostile political environment.

It would be a grave mistake to hope that the current political animosity and suppression of human rights and freedoms will be resolved through threats and counter threats, he added.

According to the human rights body, the top leadership of the two parties needed to meet in order to reduce the political tension in the country.

There is increased political tension in the country following the disputed general elections held last year, which the opposition party feels was stolen. The opposition party has refused to recognize President Edgar Lungu as winner of the election.

The opposition party has also accused the government of using the police to suppress the rights of citizens.

Last Sunday, one person was killed when the police clashed with opposition supporters in a western suburb of Lusaka, the country’s capital, as they tried to stop the youths who were marching peacefully.

Fourteen opposition supporters have since been arrested.

Last week, the police blocked the opposition party from holding a press conference at a hotel in the capital. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/