The Human Rights Commission (HRC) is encouraged following the pronouncement by President Edgar Lungu in re-affirming the Government’s unwavering commitment to amending the Public Order Act, Chapter 113 of the laws of Zambia.
The commission says the amendment of the Public Order Act is one of the strategic measures outlined in the Seven National Development Plan (7NDP) aimed at creating an inclusive democratic system of governance.
Commission Spokesperson Mweelwa Muleya says the Commission however notes with regret that the Government has on numerous occasions expressed the desire and commitment to amending the Public Order Act, but no progress seems to be made towards achieving that noble objective of enhancing the promotion and protection of the democratic and constitutional right to freedom of Assembly.
Mr. Muleya expects that various stakeholders will this time around carryout the Presidential Policy Direction to amend the Public Order Act.
“The Amendment of the Public Order Act and its fair administration is an integral part of an inclusive democratic system of governance, respect for human rights, rule of law and constitutionalism. The Commission will continue engaging various stakeholders in a quest to improve the administration of the Public Order Act in order to enhance the promotion and protection of the fundamental right to freedom of assembly,” he said.
Mr. Muleya has also welcomed the reminder by the President to all stakeholders to work towards mainstreaming the rights of Persons with Disabilities.
He adds that the mainstreaming of the rights of Persons with Disabilities is central to the theme of Leave No One Behind as espoused in the 7NDP and the Sustainable Development Goals.
“It is a critical part of an inclusive system of governance and it must be taken seriously if Zambia is to achieve Vision 2030 of becoming a prosperous middle-income nation,” Mr. Muleya said.
The HRC Spokesperson says as the President rightly observed, Zambia has made notable strides in the promotion and protection of the rights of Persons with Disabilities to the extent of ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, domesticating the Convention through the enactment of the Persons with Disabilities Act No. 6 of 2012 and developing the National Disability Policy of 2015.
He has however noted the need for concerted efforts by various stakeholders towards ensuring that the legal and policy measures adequately translate into improving the well-being of Persons with Disabilities.
“The Commission also noted that the Presidential Address stressed the need for promoting Economic, Social and Cultural Rights such as access to safe clean water, food, decent housing, electricity, quality education, health services and decent jobs in line with Vision 2030,” he said.
He says as the theme of the Presidential Address stated, there is need for working together to achieve Vision 2030, and the Commission remains committed to playing its constitutional mandate in this regard.