Human rights mission to Zambia seeks to make progress on cases

By Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 19, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- An on-site mission to Zambia on 22-25 September led by the President of IPU´s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians Juan Pablo Letelier will complete investigations on 18 cases involving opposition members of the National Assembly.

The cases followed the rise to power of the Patriotic Front in 2011. IPU is concerned by incidents of alleged police harassment, including the arbitrary detention of parliamentarians and allegations that opposition MPs cannot fully exercise their right to freedom of assembly.

In a resolution adopted in March 2014, IPU highlighted the cases of opposition MPs Kenneth Konga and Garry Nkombo. Konga allegedly collapsed during prolonged interrogation by law enforcers and suffered a stroke as a result whilst Nkombo, was reportedly attacked by a government minister in full view of the police.

The IPU mission will also seek clarification on the situation of three opposition MPs – Dora Siliya, Maxwell Mwale and Hastings Sililo - who were disqualified from parliament on grounds of corrupt or illegal practices.

The mission will meet relevant parliamentary, executive and judicial authorities in Zambia, as well as the 18 opposition MPs. It will submit its preliminary conclusions to the Committee when it meets in October during IPU's 131st Assembly in Geneva.