THE government has asked Ireland to support the candidature of judge Mumba Malila to the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) in the elections set for October.
National development planning minister Alexander Chiteme conveyed Zambia’s request during a bilateral meeting with Seán Canney, Ireland’s Minister for Natural Resources, Community Affairs and Digital Development, on the sidelines of the 2019 United Nations High Level political forum on sustainable development in New York last Thursday.
Chiteme extoled justice Malila’s experience in human rights and law reform, having served in different capacities at national and continental level, including twice as Attorney-General, chairperson of the Human Rights Commission, vice-chairperson of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights and author of several law books.
The elections to the CAT will take place in Geneva on October 3 during the 17th Meeting of States Parties.
The UN Committee Against Torture is a body of 10 independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by its State Parties. Members are elected for a term of four years by state parties and may be re-elected.
Canney responded favourably to Zambia’s request.
He reminded Chiteme of Ireland’s candidature to the UN Security Council non-permanent member category in the UN Security Council elections scheduled for 2020 and requested Zambia’s reciprocal support.
The Irish minister reiterated the importance of the two countries to support each other’s efforts on the international fora as a way to ensure strong representation of issues of concern to both of them.
In response, Chiteme assured Ireland of Zambia’s support to Ireland’s candidature and reiterated the need for the two countries to continue strengthening their bilateral relations.
The two ministers exchanged views on the continued cordial relationship between their countries, efforts to combat climate change and implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Chiteme explained the challenges that climate change had brought on countries in Africa, and Zambia in particular, such as droughts and water shortages the need to be addressed through global finance.
“Africa is badly affected by climate change and the continent needed to have a voice on international fora such as the UN Security Council,” Chiteme said, according to ministry spokesperson Chibaula Silwamba.
Chiteme informed Canney that Zambia would present its Voluntary National Review (VNR) at the 2020 High Level Political Forum and called on the Irish government for support.
On climate change, Carnney explained the framework that Ireland had adopted for climate action that involves young people in being part of the solution and the importance of mindset change in the way people do things.
He said Ireland adopted a climate smart framework, including decarbonisation and adoption of renewable energy sources and innovative and clean technology in transportation systems with diesel powered vehicles being phased out and electrical vehicles being adopted.
Meanwhile, Muchinga Province minister Malozo Sichone thanked the Irish government for the support provided to the region and called for continued financing of the activities.
Sichone said with Irish support, capacity had been built in governance at local level, and in water and sanitation management.
“These efforts need to be sustained with future partnerships,” Sichone said.
He urged the Irish government to embark on other developmental projects in the area.
Canney responded with affirmation to Sichone’s request and called for follow-up discussion between the latter and the Irish envoy in Zambia to undertake the activities in Muchinga Province.