Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1989


In Zambia's one-party system of government. President Kenneth
Kaunda exercises predominant executive authority. He is
advised by a central committee of party leaders and governs
through a cabinet and a parliament. There is strong
competition for parliamentary seats within the single-party
structure. All candidates for political office at any level
must be members of the United National Independence Party
(UNIP) and must be screened by its Central Committee in
advance. Under a state of emergency in effect for the past 25
years, the President has broad discretion to detain or
restrict the movements of people, and law enforcement
personnel have extraordinary powers to detain suspects and
search homes.

The Zambian police, operating under the Ministry of Home
Affairs, have primary responsibility for maintaining law and
order. Divided into regular and paramilitary units, it
supervises a volunteer vigilante force composed primarily of
party activists. The Zambian Intelligence and Security
Service is charged with intelligence and counterespionage
responsibilities while the armed services are used for
internal security, especially at checkpoints and roadblocks.

Although Zambia's economy grew in real terms for the second
straight year (after years of steady deterioration) due to
high copper prices and bumper corn crops, per capita income
continues to decline because of rapid population growth. Over
the near and medium term, the country will continue to be
burdened with an overvalued currency and beset by high
inflation, high unemployment, and chronic underutilization of
industrial production. The Government undertook economic
reforms late in 1988 with stiffer measures in 1989 designed to
stimulate market forces by ending subsidies and price controls
and by significantly devaluing the currency. With more
reforms required, Zambia will be hard pressed to cushion the
blows on its poorest citizens.

Positive human rights developments in Zambia in 1989 included
judicial action against officials accused of mistreating
prisoners; release of detained opposition political party
members; the return of shops seized in an earlier crackdown on
"black marketeering ; " and spirited, widely reported,
parliamentary debate over Zambia's one-party state and State
of Emergency, issues that were previously not discussed

Areas in which human rights problems occurred in 1989 included
mistreatment of prisoners and detainees, including evidence of
torture; arbitrary and excessively long detentions; lack of
fair trials in security cases; restrictions on freedoms of
speech, press, assembly, and association; the right of
citizens to change their government; and traditional, often
illegal, discrimination against women. In 1989 the
deteriorating economic situation and increased authority
granted by the 1988 Emergency Powers Act led police to use
excessive force in their efforts to curb smuggling and illegal
trading and to stem the influx of illegal aliens. In
assisting the police, overzealous party militants and
vigilantes also used illegal means or excessive force.


Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including
Freedom from:

a. Political and other Extrajudicial Killing

In 1989 no killings occurred which could be attributed to the
Zambian Government. Ten people were killed when a household
of Malawian dissidents was bombed in October. Zambian press
reports hinted that Malawian government agents were to blame.

b. Disappearance

There were no known cases of government-inspired disappearance.

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment

The Constitution prohibits torture, but there are credible
reports that police and military personnel have resorted to
excessive force when interrogating detainees or prisoners. In
January 1989, a Lusaka High Court judge expressed concern over
the torture of people under the custody of law enforcement
officers. Those who are maltreated by authorities can and do
appeal to the judicial system for redress.

In 1989 Zambian courts tried some cases charging police or
prison officers with mistreatment of prisoners. In one case,
a man was awarded damages for pain, suffering, permanent
damage to his eyesight, false imprisonment, and general
damages when he was assaulted by police. In another case, a
commanding officer of a regional prison and two senior
subordinates were acquitted on charges of failing to feed a
prisoner. Militant vigilantes were accused of publicly
beating and humiliating citizens suspected of black
marketeering . During 1989 two vigilantes were jailed for
beating a suspected cattle rustler to death.

The vigilantes (volunteer party activists) are tasked with
assisting the police in combating crime, black marketeering
and smuggling. These units are frequently overzealous, and,
in 1989 there were many ciLizen complaints of harsh
treatment. The Human Rights Committee of the Law Association
of Zambia (Copperbelt branch) appealed to the party to check
harassment of the people by vigilantes.

Conditions in Zambian prisons are harsh with limited medical
facilities. Several foreigners imprisoned for brief periods
in Zambia have reported substandard food, overcrowding, and
the absence of beds. According to Amnesty International's
1989 Report, covering 1988, these conditions have resulted in
a number of deaths. The Report noted in particular the extent
of overcrowding in the Central Remand Prison.

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The Preservation of Public Security Act (PSA) gives the
President broad discretion during a state of emergency, which
has been in effect since 1964, to detain or restrict the
movements of persons and to order that persons be arrested and
detained for indeterminate periods. Presidential detainees
are entitled to formal notification of the reasons for their
detention within 14 days of arrest; publication of their
detention in the Government Gazette; access to counsel;
frequent visitation by family and colleagues; immediate right
to petition the detaining authority for release; and the right
to seek judicial review of the detention order by an *
independent and impartial tribunal after 1 year. However, the
President is not legally bound to accept a tribunal's
recommendation of release if he still believes that the
detainee poses a threat to national security. In practice,
detainees have been released if the judicial tribunal so
recommended. Some detainees have been held for years without
coming to trial; for example, Faustino Lombe, who was arrested
in 1981 for plotting the escape of detainees held on treason
charges. He was not released until 1988.

In March one detainee successfully sued the State for unlawful
detention and false imprisonment.

Approximately six people detained under presidential order
were released in 1989. These included three alleged members
of an opposition political party, the People's Redemption
Organization (PRO), which is illegal under Zambia's
Constitution. Four army officers, who were detained under
presidential order and charged with coup plotting in 1988,
were formally charged with treason and committed to the High
Court for trial. According to the Government Gazette,
approximately 18 persons were detained under the PSA. Four
are suspected of involvement in the petrol-bombing murder of
10 Malawian exiles. Most of the remaining 14 are being held
on suspicion of drug-related activities.

The 25-year state of emergency gives law officers and defense
personnel extraordinary powers. Police officers of assistant
inspector rank and above may arrest without a warrant and
detain a person for up to 28 days if the officer has reason to
believe that grounds exist to justify a presidential detention
order. In theory, police must provide the detainee with
reasons for his detention within 14 days of arrest. In July a
magistrate summoned two police officers who in separate
incidents had kept two accused persons for 7 days without
detention orders. By the end of 1989, there was no
information available on whether or not they were punished.

Police can use a 1989 law supplementing the Dangerous Drugs
Act to secure forfeitures of property or proceeds earned or
suspected to have been earned through drugs. A Drug
Enforcement Commission was created in 1989 under the same Act.

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c.

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

The Zambian judicial system consists of the Supreme Court with
appellate powers and a series of lower courts of which the
High Court is the most important. Although presidential
detainees are not guaranteed public trial, such trials are
usually public when they occur. In most cases, presidential
detainees are eventually released without having been tried.
The trial of Lt . Gen. Christian Tembo and three other military
officers charged with plotting a coup was scheduled to be held
in public in early 1990.

In ordinary cases, the law protects suspects' rights during
the conduct of interrogations and provides for the right to
legal representation at one's own expense or through legal
aid; the right to give evidence under oath in criminal
procedures; the right to give an unsworn statement; and the
right to remain silent. The Zambian judiciary traditionally
has maintained its independence from executive branch
influence. Although the President has the power to appoint
and transfer judges, there appears to be no evidence that such
power has swayed court decisions.

The number of political prisoners held at the end of 1989 was
unknown. There are five prisoners serving life sentences for
coup plotting in 1980.

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or

The inviolability of the home is generally respected, except
in cases relating to the state of emergency or to roundups of
illegal aliens and black marketeers. In such cases, security
forces have broad powers and often enter the homes of suspects
without search warrants.

In May 1989, 120 persons were picked up in Mongu and, in June
the Flying Squad (an antirobbery unit) raided homes in a Kitwe
residential area, allegedly to flush out illegal aliens. Such
raids were extended in July to Chililabombwe where some
persons were rounded up, allegedly for attempting to smuggle
goods to Zaire.

Early in the year many businessmen, whose trading licenses
were revoked in a 1988 clampdown on black marketeering, were
given back their licenses and shops. They were also promised
compensation for their losses.

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

These freedoms are restricted. Parliament debates a wide
range of political, economic, and social issues but within a
controlled one-party context. Direct negative comments
concerning the Head of State, or the national philosophy
("Humanism") generally may not be expressed in public, the
Parliament or the media. A Kitwe resident was sentenced to 2
years hard labor in June after he was found guilty of defaming
the President.

Toward the end of 1989, Members of Parliament questioned the
usefulness of the one-party state and the state of emergency.
These parliamentary debates were widely covered in the
newspapers .

Since the beginning of 1989, the two national dailies have
been owned by a new public corporation, the National Media
Corporation, headed by an advisor to the President.
Television and radio are also state owned under the Zambia
National Broadcasting Corporation. In spite of its
quasi-government ownership, the press generally carries a
substantial amount of commentary critical of party and
government performance but within the parameters of dissent
tolerated by the Government.

Academic freedom is respected in Zambian society, and
educators are outspoken in their opposition to government
influence over the educational system. However, university
teachers and researchers are subject to the same broad
restrictions on criticism of the President and his philosophy
that apply to other Zambians.

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

All political activity outside the one-party structure is
banned. Police permits are issued routinely for meetings,
rallies, or marches unless the Government believes the
proceedings are likely to be contrary to its interests. There
are a number of unofficial pressure groups for various
economic, political, and social subjects. The most
influential in affecting government policy are the Zambia
Industrial and Commercial Association and the Commercial
Farmers Bureau.

For discussion of freedom of association as it applies to
labor unions, see Section 6. a.

c. Freedom of Religion

Freedom of religion is provided for in the Constitution and
respected in practice. Zambia has no state religion, and
adherence to a particular faith does not confer either
advantage or disadvantage. The Government has prohibited the
Jehovah's Witnesses from proselytizing. Nevertheless, the
sect functions openly, and its freedom to refrain from
participating in various secular activities such as voting,
singing the national anthem, and saluting the flag has been
upheld in the courts and supported by senior party leaders.
Christian missionaries from a wide variety of faiths operate
in the country. Lay associations and religious youth groups
operate independently of party control or influence.

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Police roadblocks are common, and vehicles and passengers are
commonly searched. Under the longstanding state of emergency
legislation, the President may restrict the movement of
persons within Zambia although this authority is seldom used
and was not used in 1989. The Government withholds or
withdraws passports to prevent foreign travel by persons whose
activities are considered inimical to Zambian interests. In
August junior doctors, who went on a "go-slow" demanding
better conditions of service, were dismissed and their
passports taken by police. The doctors were subsequently
reinstated and their passports returned.

While the majority of Zambians are subsistence farmers, about
47 percent of the people live in urban areas, and migration to
cities is increasing. In November 1989, President Kaunda
announced that unemployed urban Zambians have until June 30,
1990, to return voluntarily to work the land in rural areas.
The President warned that failure to respond to his call for
voluntary resettlement would result in the imposition of an
involuntary resettlement program next year. The Government
has promised to provide the resettlers with land and food for
1 year to assist in the resettlement process.

Zambia hosts a large refugee/displaced persons population,
particularly from Angola and Mozambique in several refugee
settlement centers. The United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that there are approximately
143,000 refugees and displaced persons in Zambia. The largest
group of refugees is from Angola, totaling more than 97,000
persons. Nearly 30,000 Mozambican refugees have also entered
in recent years. In 1989 the Government cooperated with the
UNHCR in the repatriation of over 4,000 Namibian refugees.
There have been repeated press reports of Mozambique National
Resistance (RENAMO) guerrilla bands from Mozambique entering
eastern Zambia and killing civilians while raiding villages.
Zambian security forces reportedly pushed most of the rebels
back across the border, killing 272 and capturing 117 as of
June 1989.

Some dissidents who have left exile groups such as the African
National Congress have been subject to harassment and
abduction by their former associates, causing some
embarrassment to the Government. The Government has
cooperated with the UNHCR which has been active in intervening
to provide protection and/or resettlement on a case-by-case
basis. It also supported the U.N. Secretary General's Special
Representative in Namibia in his efforts to investigate the
question of Namibians allegedly detained by the South West
Africa People's Organization.

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens
to Change Their Government:

Zambian citizens do not have the right to change their form of
government. Under the Constitution, UNIP is the sole legal
political party. It has an estimated membership of less than
10 percent of the adult population. Power is concentrated in
the hands of the President as leader of the party and Head of
State. He plays a dominant role in determining the membership
of Zambia's top executive institutions, including the party
Central Committee and the Cabinet, which traditionally contain
a general regional and tribal balance.

Candidates for political office at any level must be members
of the party and are subject to close examination by the
Central Committee. In practice, the political system is open
to persons of somewhat divergent opinions, provided they are
willing to work within the one-party structure and do not
challenge the President's preeminent position.

Theoretically, the National Assembly is equal to the President
in power and importance. However, following the October 1988
general election, the President moved to curb the independence
of the newly elected National Assembly. In a break with
tradition, members were sworn in by the President at the State
House instead of by the Speaker at the National Assembly
buildings, as had been the practice. At the ceremony, the
President stated that unwarranted criticism in Parliament
would not be tolerated and stressed that the National
Assembly's principal purpose is to implement party policy
through the drafting of legislation. Despite the President's
warning, there was extensive criticism of party and government
policies during the second 1989 session of Parliament. These
debates were well covered in the press.

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations
of Human Rights

The Government neither encourages nor hinders inquiries or
visits by human rights organizations.

In August 1989, the press carried an Amnesty International
report which expressed concern over detained persons and urged
the Government to release them without further delay. The
Government, through the Minister of State for Home Affairs,
has indicated that it is studying the report.
Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion,
Language, or Social Status:

The population of 7 million comprises more than 70
Bantu-speaking tribal groupings. Economic and social needs
are met on a generally nondiscriminatory basis. In 1989
compensation was promised to both black and Asian businessmen
whose licenses and shops had been seized in 1988 (see Section
l.f .).

By law, women are entitled to full equality with men. In
practice, while they participate increasingly in Zambia's
social, economic, and political life and are gaining
representation in the professions and higher education, they
remain in a subordinate position in many ways. Zambian women
are a major component of the rural work force. Customary law
and practice, in contradiction to Zambia's Constitution and
codified laws, place women in subordinate status with respect
to property, inheritance, and marriage. Until 1989, under
traditional customs, all rights to inherit property rested
with the deceased man's family. The widow and her children
were entitled to nothing. The Intestate Succession Act passed
in 1989 guarantees widows a 20 percent share and children a 50
percent share in the inheritance of a deceased man's
property. Divorce laws are applied to men and women equally.

There are no reliable statistics on the extent to which
violence against women, including wife beating, occurs.
Domestic assault is a criminal offense, but, in practice,
police are often reluctant to pursue reports of wife beating
or other forms of abuse. According to women's rights
advocates, nondomestic violence against women is not generally
tolerated by traditional or civil authorities. Victims
usually report attacks, and legal action is taken. In crimes
against women where rape, serious injury, or death occurs,
men--including husbands--can receive sentences up to, and
including, the death penalty.

According to the 1980 census, the percentage of literacy among
Zambians above the age of 15 is 75.4 per cent for males and
53.1 per cent for females. In employment, Zambian men and
women receive equal pay for equal work. However, there is no
legal redress for women who are refused employment on the
basis of their sex. Within the workplace, regulations often
deny married professional women the fringe benefits (cars,
housing etc.) provided to their male colleagues.

Section 6 Worker Rights

a. The Right of Association

Zambia has a history of strong labor union organizations,
dating from the establishment of the copper mines during the
1930's. Zambia's 18 large national unions, organized by
industry or profession, are all members of the Zambia Congress
of Trade Unions (ZCTU) , the sole legal confederation.

The ZCTU is not controlled by the party or the Government, and
union leaders frequently criticize government policy on such
subjects as wages, economic policy, conditions of service, and
labor representation in party and government organs. The ZCTU
is democratic and regularly conducts open elections to select
its leadership.
With the economic downturn and implementation of stringent
reform measures, there has been an increase in labor unrest.
Under existing legislation, strikes are permitted only after
all other recourse has been exhausted. In practice, virtually-
all strikes are illegal, since they almost always commence
before the mandatory process of mediation has run its course.
The Government normally has relied on persuasion and continued
mediation to end strikes once they have begun.

Deteriorating economic conditions have resulted in widespread
labor unrest. Throughout the year, teachers, bank workers,
air traffic controllers, foresters, railway workers, sugar
refinery workers, miners, and junior doctors were among the
groups that mounted boycotts, "go-slows," and strikes. The
Government instructed education officers to compile lists of
teachers involved in class boycotts so disciplinary action
could be taken but later backed down in the face of protests
from the ZCTU and the teachers union. Twenty-six air traffic
controllers were arrested and charged with taking part in an
illegal strike. President Kaunda declared in 1989 that he
would not tolerate any more wildcat strikes and would insist
on total industrial peace. The Minister of Labor warned that
trade union leaders abetting strikes would be deregistered and
cease to hold office at any level while offending unions would
be dissolved.

The ZCTU is a member of the Organization of African Trade
Union Unity.

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

ZCTU's right to organize and bargain collectively with
employers is codified under regulations in the Industrial
Relations Act (IRA). These rights are respected in practice.
The IRA provides a mechanism for initiating and settling
worker-employer disputes and provides for the establishment of
an industrial relations court. Union rights against
management interference or discrimination have been readily
upheld by the industrial relations court. There are no export
processing zones.

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Slavery, involuntary servitude, and forced labor are
prohibited by the Constitution. Generally, these prohibitions
are observed. In its 1989 report, the International Labor
Organization (ILO) Committee of Experts reiterated its
longstanding request to the Government to modify various
legislative provisions which it finds incompatible with
Convention 105 on forced labor. The provisions in question
impose imprisonment, involving forced labor, for expressing
certain political views and/or for engaging in political
activities outside the UNIP as a means of labor discipline or
as a punishment for having participated in strikes. The ILO
Committee on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations
also considered this issue at the ILO conference in June and
requested the Government to take urgent action.

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The legal minimum age is 16. This and other age restrictions
apply to the industrial sector, where, because of adult
unemployment, there are few employees under age 16. However,
persons under age 14 are often employed in the commercial and
subsistence agricultural sectors. In 1986 (the most recent
year for which statistics are available), 163,216 children
aged 12 to 14 were employed--mainly on family fartns--out of a
total population of 464,809 in that age group.

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work

Zambian law regulates minimum health and safety standards in
any industrial undertaking. Enforcement of these laws is
carried out by the Ministries of Mines and Labor. The Office
of the Investigator General exists to redress the excessive
use or abuse of power by government officials against their
subordinates .

There is no general minimum wage in Zambia. However, each
industry has its own minimum wage determined through the
process of collective bargaining. In industries where
collective bargaining is not effective, the Minister of Labor
and Social Services has determined a lowest wage of an amount
equivalent to about $1.00 a day for cleaners, office
orderlies, and watchmen. An average wage for shopworkers is
about $32 per month which is insufficient to provide an
adequate standard of living. Most Zambian workers must
supplement their incomes through second jobs, some subsistence
farming, or reliance on the extended family. The normal
workweek is 40 hours. There are legal requirements for .annual
leave (2 days per month of service) and maternity leave (90
days). Women are legally excluded from night work and a
variety of hazardous occupations.