The United Nations Development Programme in partnership with the Government of Zambia through the Ministry of Justice today signed the “Promotion of Human Rights and Access to Justice Project”
The project aims to contribute towards the progressive realisation of human rights and improved access to justice for all in Zambia. Despite Zambia ratifying various international and regional human rights instruments, the implementation of these treaties and the creation of an effective mechanism to regularly monitor compliance of state institutions to human rights standards and obligations remain major challenges to development. The most vulnerable groups to human rights violations in Zambia include women, children, elderly persons, persons in detention, and persons with disabilities.
In his opening remarks during the signing ceremony held at Ministry of Justice, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. Mr. Roland Seri stressed the importance and universality of human rights by echoing the the words of the former UN Secretary General Koffi Annan who said, “Human Rights are the foundation of human existence and coexistence.”
Mr. Seri stated that the signed project “Promotion of Human Rights and Access to Justice” will explore various innovative ways of reaching the citizens cost-effectively, particularly the marginalized so that they are better equipped to claim their rights.
The project will also provide targeted support to key government institutions, such as the Zambia Police Service, Judiciary and the Human Rights Commission.
Mr. Seri assured government and other partners that UNDP as a neutral development agency is committed to working with state and non-state actors to contribute to enhanced access to justice and human rights in Zambia. While an important milestone has been reached by launching the project, UNDP is open to expanding this collaboration with more stakeholders and cooperating partners to address prevailing human rights challenges.
“UNDP is committed to working with the state actors, civil society and other development stakeholders to collectively address those challenges that hinder our progress and efforts for the promotion of Human Rights and Access to Justice in Zambia”
Speaking at the Ceremony Minister of Justice, Hon. Given Lubinda, emphasised the government’s commitment to uphold democratic principles, respect for human rights and provision of access to justice.
The Justice Minister implored various stakeholders to work together through the project. He further emphasised that civil society organizations are well positioned to educate citizens and communities the importance of not only knowing their rights but also claiming their rights. Hon. Lubinda gave a special thanks to UNDP Zambia for its continued support and work towards governance in Zambia, he also thanked various players for their contribution towards the development of the project document.