THE Zambia Council for Social Development has urged the new dawn government to ensure it does not stifle the existing process of repealing and replacing the NGO Act but instead allow the process to conclude.
During a workshop on the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in Zambia, programme manager Zebbies Mumba said the Act was the main document for NGOs to have a safe place in Zambia unlike the one currently there.
Mumba said the focus now was more to do with Zambia’s adherence to the international implementation of the ICCPR.
He said at the end of the day it was important to build NGOs’ capacity to participate in the Universal Peer Review (UPR) process
“It might be this year but onward adherence to the implementation of the ICCPR is very key to protect the democracy that is there,” he said.
Mumba said currently the process of completing the civil society analysis was underway in as far as the UPR was concentrated.
“Looking back at the way things were in the former regime where a lot of rights were being trampled upon, the Access to Information law has not been enacted and the NGO Act repeal has not been done yet,” he said.
Mumba said ZCSD was also gratified that institutions like the UN took time to be in the space as they were key institutions in as far as human rights were concerned.
He also thanked the Centre for Political and Human Rights for facilitating the sensitisation of civil society on Zambia’s international human rights commitments.
Zambia signed the ICCPR commitment to promote human rights in 1984 and has been reviewed in 1987, 1996 and 2007. Among the commitments in the ICCPR includes the promotion of freedom of expression, assembly and association.
The government is expected to present its report on progress made since 2007 later this year.