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Zambia: Constitutional Amendments Do Not Protect Basic Rights
Following the approval of Constitutional amendments by Zambian President Edward Lungu, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“Freedom House is concerned that the amendments fail to mention protection of fundamental freedoms and rights,” said Vukasin Petrovic, director of Africa programs. “We encourage the Zambian government to take the wishes of its citizens into consideration and adopt all the measures proposed by district, provincial and national conferences. Only if this is done will Zambia have a Constitution that fully represents its constituents.”
Zambians have been engaged in drafting a new constitution since the early 2000s. The amendments passed on January 5th stem from a process that started in 2011 under then President Michael Sata. Many drafts emerged from local conferences where citizens and civil society organizations participated. The amendments approved by parliament and the president lack many of the provisions sought by citizens.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.