The State Department web site below is a permanent electronic archive of information released prior to January 20, 2001.  Please see for material released since President George W. Bush took office on that date.  This site is not updated so external links may no longer function.  Contact us with any questions about finding information.

NOTE: External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.

Department Seal


TITLE:  ZAMBIA HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                             
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


Zambia is a republic governed by a president, a unicameral 
national assembly, and a constitutionally independent 
judiciary.  Free and fair multiparty elections in October 1991 
resulted in the victory of the Movement for Multiparty 
Democracy (MMD) and the election of President Frederick J.T. 
Chiluba.  With one exception, the more than 30 opposition 
parties generally operated without government interference in 

On March 4, President Chiluba invoked his constitutional powers 
to declare a state of emergency in response to a purported plot 
by members of the former ruling party, the United National 
Independence Party (UNIP), to destabilize the country.  The 
security forces detained without charge and interrogated 26  
persons, most of them UNIP members.  The Government revoked the 
state of emergency on May 25 and charged eight detainees with 
offenses ranging from treason to possession of seditious 
documents.  It released all other detainees without charge.  By 
late 1993, a Lusaka magistrate had convicted one of the eight 
of possession of a seditious document and sentenced him to 9 
months in prison.  He remained free on bail pending the outcome 
of an appeal to the High Court.  The remaining detainees were 
also free on bail as their cases were tried in the courts.

In May the Government established a Commission of Inquiry to 
investigate human rights abuses under both the current and the 
previous governments.

The Zambian police, divided into regular and paramilitary units 
and operating under the Ministry of Home Affairs, have primary 
responsibility for maintaining law and order.  Police often 
ignore procedural requirements and engage in abusive and brutal 
behavior, including beating and at times killing criminal 
suspects and detainees.

After steady declines in per capita gross domestic product, 
Zambia in 1992 was redesignated a least developed country by 
the United Nations.  The Chiluba Government remained committed 
to a free market economic reform program, but high inflation 
had a serious impact on the poor, the middle class, and 
business, eroding public support for the reform policies.  
Beginning in August, the inflation rate dropped dramatically, 
the first sign that tight monetary and fiscal policies were 
beginning to have an effect.  After the drought of 1992, 
agricultural production rebounded with record harvests of many 
crops, but the Government's tight cash budget policy limited 
its capacity to purchase the crops.  The key copper industry 
maintained production levels, but depressed world prices kept 
revenues at lower levels.

Zambia's major human rights problem, police brutality, 
continued unchecked in 1993, resulting in extrajudicial 
killings of persons in police custody and torture, as 
exemplified by the torture of three detained UNIP leaders at 
the hands of security forces.  Other significant human rights 
abuses occurred, including arbitrary detentions under the State 
of Emergency and government efforts to curb press freedom with 
a concomitant increase in self-censorship by the press.  The 
Government's commitment to constitutional and legal reform 
remained unfulfilled, abysmal prison conditions continued to 
threaten health and life of inmates, and women continued to 
experience both de jure and de facto discrimination.  Wife 
beating and rape remained common.


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

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no known political killings during the year, but 
police brutality and use of excessive force continued to result 
in extrajudicial killings.  According to reports in the Zambian 
press, the police killed at least 19 criminal suspects between 
January 1 and September 15.  So far as is known, the police 
undertook no serious investigations to determine possible 
police use of excessive force in attempting to apprehend the 
suspects.  In November a Chingola High Court judge convicted a 
police officer of manslaughter and sentenced him to 3 years' 
imprisonment for the accidental shooting death of a man during 
a melee in a town market.

At least two criminal suspects died in police custody.  In one 
case in January, two police officers reportedly beat the victim 
to death.  In the other, police alleged that a young suspect in 
apparent good health died suddenly of pneumonia.  The  
authorities investigated neither case to determine possible 
police culpability.  In another case, a police officer was 
arrested in connection with the December 1992 death of a 
suspect while in custody.  No information on the disposition of 
the case was made known during 1993.  Responding to public 
concern about police treatment of suspects, Home Affairs 
Minister Newstead Zimba said in January that officers guilty of 
abuses would be subject to legal action, but there were no 
reports that offenders were prosecuted.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no known cases of government-inspired disappearance.

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

The 1991 Constitution prohibits torture but members of the 
police and security forces regularly used excessive force when 
apprehending, interrogating, and holding criminal suspects or 
illegal aliens.  Beatings and other mistreatment by police were 
in most instances not subject to serious investigation, and 
offenders were rarely disciplined or prosecuted.

There were credible reports that during March and April police, 
security service, and military interrogators severely 
mistreated three of the persons detained under the State of 
Emergency.  In the course of interrogation between March 13 and 
16, one detainee was repeatedly struck, required to perform 
exhausting physical exercises, and forced to kneel on small 
stones that caused pain and swelling.  Interrogators also 
reportedly pulled his hair and dunked his head in a dirty 
toilet.  Interrogators systematically abused a second detainee 
during interrogation by forcing him to sit in a chair with his 
hands tied behind him and his buttocks raised off the seat, 
striking him when he tired and lowered his body to the seat of 
the chair.  This person became ill during interrogation, was 
hospitalized, and then was returned to prison for further 
interrogation.  A third detainee was observed to have marks on 
his back from beatings.

In response to the allegations of torture and to growing public 
criticism, the Government stated that it opposed torture and 
claimed that any mistreatment of the detainees was not the 
result of policy but rather, of the actions of individuals.  
The Government permitted delegations from the Foundation for 
Democratic Process (FODEP) to visit 10 of the detainees at 2 
separate prisons on April 5.  None of the 10--who did not 
include the 3 reported torture victims--alleged mistreatment.  
On March 22, Legal Affairs Minister Chongwe said that law 
enforcement officers found to have abused detainees should be 
fired and prosecuted.  There were no reports, however, of 
disciplinary or legal action against any of the security force 
personnel involved.  The Government continued to sponsor a 
series of human rights training seminars for police and other 
officials, but there were no signs of an impact on actual 

In further response to the allegations of torture, the 
Government on May 5 announced the establishment of a Commission 
of Inquiry to investigate human rights abuse under both the 
current Government and the previous one.  The terms of 
reference of the Commission, chaired by an eminent lawyer, 
included recommending measures to the Government to prevent 
human rights abuses by government personnel.  For several 
months the Commission toured the country taking witnesses' 
testimony, most of which detailed abuses under the previous 
Government, but which also produced allegations that torture 
and "torture chambers" continued to exist under the MMD 
Government.  As the year ended, the Commission continued to 
hold hearings.  It was to submit its findings and 
recommendations to the Government early in 1994.

Conditions in Zambian prisons continue to be harsh and life 
threatening.  Tuberculosis, anemia, dysentery, malaria, chest 
infections, and other maladies are rampant due to low protein 
diets, lack of clean water, severe overcrowding, and poor 
sanitation and medical facilities.  In June, for example, a 
Zambia prison services official confirmed that a food shortage 
at prisons had forced inmates to live on one meal per day.  
Similar conditions are found in police holding cells.  
According to the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ), three 
prisoners at Singogo Remand Prison in Ndola died within a 
6-week period in July and August.  Because of the poor 
conditions in the prison, an Ndola magistrate subsequently 
ordered the release on bail of many prisoners awaiting trial.  
In January the LAZ petitioned the Home Affairs Minister to 
permit access to prisons and police cells, but the Government 
denied the request.  However, the Human Rights Commission of 
Inquiry toured provincial prisons and police cells, including 
juvenile facilities, pursuant to its terms of reference.  The 
Government did not allocate nearly enough resources to 
ameliorate the poor conditions in most prisons and police cells.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

On March 5, President Chiluba invoked powers granted to him 
under the Constitution to declare a 90-day state of emergency 
in response to the so-called Zero Option Plan involving members 
of UNIP.  The plan, which had circulated among UNIP leaders for 
weeks, advocated fomenting widespread civil unrest in order to 
make the country ungovernable, thereby paving the way for 
UNIP's return to power.  President Chiluba and his Government 
were concerned that the plan represented an immediate threat to 
national security.  The National Assembly ratified the 
President's declaration on March 12 by a vote of 114-23.

Imposition of the state of emergency automatically activated 
the provisions of the 1960 Preservation of Public Security Act 
(PSA), under which the President and law enforcement 
authorities have wide powers to curtail civil liberties.  In 
particular, the PSA permits the Government to arrest persons 
without a warrant and to detain them without charge.  After 
declaring the state of emergency, the Chiluba Government 
amended some sections of the PSA to restrict its scope and 
limit the potential for abuses.  For example, the period for 
which a detainee could initially be held without charge was 
reduced from 28 to 7 days.

Authorities detained 26 UNIP members and supporters in March 
under the provisions of the PSA.  The President signed orders 
authorizing the detentions after consultation with the Attorney 
General and other legal advisers.  Family members and attorneys 
were usually given access to the detainees, except during 
interrogation.  When questioned about the right of detainees to 
have attorneys present during interrogation, government 
officials gave conflicting legal opinions, but in most cases 
attorneys were not permitted to be present.  Despite the 7-day 
time limit on detentions specified in the amended PSA, the Zero 
Option detainees were held without charge appreciably longer, 
some for 77 days.  The Government never convened the special 
tribunal called for under the PSA to review and authorize 
additional periods of detention of up to 6 months.

During March and April, most of the detainees were released 
from custody without being charged.  On May 21, the Government 
revoked the presidential detention order against the remaining 
eight detainees and charged them with offenses under the 
criminal statutes ranging from treason to possession of 
seditious documents.  All eight were released on bail, and 
their trials, which began in August, were continuing as the 
year ended.  The first verdict came in October, when a Lusaka 
magistrate convicted UNIP leader Bwendo Mulengela of possession 
of a seditious document and sentenced him to 9 months's 
imprisonment.  Mulengela appealed the judgment to the High 

In March, 13 of the detainees petitioned the courts to review 
the legality of their detentions.  Hearings before two Lusaka 
High Court judges began on April 6 and continued intermittently 
until the state of emergency was revoked by the President on 
May 25.  The courts pursued the cases evenhandedly and took 
steps to safeguard the detainees' rights.  High Court Justice 
James Mutale, for example, ordered the state to hold the 
detainees in the Lusaka area during the hearings (previously 
they had been held at various prisons around the country) and 
demanded that all mistreatment be halted.  Ultimately, the 
detainees were released before the courts could rule on their 

In regular criminal cases, the law requires that a detainee be 
charged and brought before a magistrate within 24 hours, but 
there are delays at each step of the process, and deadlines are 
frequently missed due to police inefficiency or lack of 
transportation to bring a suspect before a magistrate.  
According to the LAZ, many persons are held in police cells and 
prisons for weeks and even months before being charged and 
brought before a magistrate.  No statistics on the number of 
these detainees were available to the public.  Foreigners, 
principally from neighboring countries, are regularly 
apprehended as illegal aliens and detained until they can be 
deported.  At times these detentions last months or years.  In 
February a high-ranking prison official told a Lusaka judge 
that 51 "prohibited immigrants" were then detained in Lusaka 
prisons, some of them since 1991.  The official also admitted 
that Lusaka prisons held many Zambians who had been detained 
for long periods without trial.  One of these, according to the 
official, had been detained since 1987.

Katiza Cebekhulu, a South African national detained at Lusaka 
Central Prison in 1991, was released from custody on December 
15.  At year's end he was residing at the Maheba refugee camp 
near Solwezi.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The MMD Government respects the independence of the judiciary.  
At the apex of the judicial system is a nine-member Supreme 
Court headed by the Chief Justice.  The Chief Justice and 
members of the Court are nominated by the President and 
confirmed by Parliament.  The Supreme Court has appellate 
jurisdiction for all legal and constitutional disputes.  The 
High Courts have authority to hear all criminal and civil cases 
and appeals from lower courts.  The 55 magistrate courts have 
original jurisdiction in criminal and some civil cases, while 
431 local, or customary courts handle most civil cases at the 
local level.  These local courts employ the principles of 
customary law, which vary widely throughout the country.  
Lawyers are barred from participating, and there are few formal 
rules of procedure.  Facilities are often rudimentary.  
Presiding judges, who are usually prominent local citizens, 
have great power to invoke customary law in rendering judgments 
regarding weddings, divorces, inheritances, other civil 
proceedings, and minor criminal matters.  Judgments are often 
not in accordance with the Legal Code; for example, they tend 
to discriminate against women in matters of inheritance and 
other issues (see Section 5).

In ordinary criminal cases, the law provides a number of 
protections for defendants, including protection during 
interrogations.  Trials are public and defendants have the 
opportunity to confront accusers and present witnesses.  
Members of the legal community maintain that if a lawyer can be 
obtained, defendants can expect to receive a fair trial.  
However, many defendants are either too poor to retain a lawyer 
or unaware of the few nongovernmental citizen advocacy groups 
that might help them.  The Government's Legal Aid Department is 
severely understaffed, and Zambians entitled to legal aid often 
find that it is unavailable.

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

Respect for privacy and the inviolability of the home is 
provided for in the Constitution and is generally respected in 
practice.  During the state of emergency, however, the homes 
and offices of dozens of UNIP member and supporters were 
searched.  All of these searches took place without a warrant, 
under the provisions of the Public Security Act, and in some 
cases authorities forcibly entered premises.  Roundups of 
suspected illegal aliens in the home or workplace continued 
during 1993.  According to the Government Commissioner for 
Refugees, immigration officials are empowered under the law to 
conduct these roundups without a warrant.

Section 2  Respect for Civil liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The broad public debate of issues that characterized the first 
year of the MMD Government continued during 1993.  Public 
discussion regarding the state of emergency and other 
controversial government actions was vigorous and constituted a 
significant change from public reaction to similar events under 
the previous government.  However, the press and other media 
continued to run afoul of legal restraints on freedom of 
expression and suffered political reprisals for expressing 
independent views.

The Constitution provides for freedom of expression and of the 
press, but these rights can be circumscribed by laws deemed to 
be in the interest of defense, public safety, public order, 
public morality, or public health.  In practice, the MMD 
Government generally respected freedom of expression during 
1993, but in a few cases individuals were either denied this 
right or arrested for expressing views deemed to be contrary to 
the law.  The Penal Code lists various prohibited activities 
that restrict freedom of expression and the press, including 
defamation of the President, expressing or showing hatred or 
ridicule, publication of false news with intent to cause fear 
and alarm to the public, publishing a seditious document, 
uttering words with intent to wound religious feelings, and 
trafficking in obscene publications.  In May authorities 
prevented former Finance Minister Emmanuel Kasonde and others 
from addressing a rally because the authorities believed 
speakers would make defamatory comments about President Chiluba 
(see Section 2.b.).  In another instance, authorities arrested 
and convicted a UNIP supporter for having "defamed" the 
President, and in a separate case arrested a businessman for 
allegedly making comments critical of Mrs. Chiluba.

The appearance of three additional nongovernment weekly 
newspapers, the announcement of a process for licensing private 
television and radio stations, and the publication of a set of 
recommendations for media reform that endorse democratic free 
press ideals, all marked appreciable if tentative progress 
toward real freedom of the press during 1993.  The Government 
continued to refrain from enforcing the more draconian of the 
press restrictions in the Legal Code, but made no perceptible 
move to amend or repeal them.  Such laws include the 
President's power under the PSA, which came into force during 
the state of emergency, to prohibit the publication, sale, 
supply, distribution, and possession of information deemed 
prejudicial to public security.  In addition, under the State 
Security Act, journalists are subject to prison terms of up to 
20 years for receiving leaked government documents and 
information.  The Media Reform Committee made specific 
recommendations to reform the Legal Code, but as the year ended 
these recommendations had not been approved by the Cabinet or 
enacted into law.

Despite indications of progress towards genuine press freedom, 
government officials continued to distrust the press and often 
attempted to control the dissemination of stories critical of 
government policies or high-ranking officials.  Reporters and 
editors, especially in the government-owned media, reported 
receiving calls from senior officials threatening their 
livelihood over critical stories they had run or that were 
being written.  Police briefly detained the managing editor of 
The Weekly Post, the most prominent independent newspaper, 
following publication of a story linking a Cabinet minister 
with drug trafficking.  Also, the President sued The Weekly 
Post for libel as a result of its reprint of a story, 
originally appearing in the South African press, that alleged 
that Chiluba had benefitted financially from an arrangement to 
allow South African conservationists to conduct studies in 
Zambia.  The Government's dismissal of the much-respected 
Director General of the Zambia National Broadcasting 
Corporation--ostensibly for irregularities in his hiring, but 
in reality for exercising independence in programming-- 
demonstrated the limits of press freedom in 1993.  The firing 
left its mark on reporters, editors, and managers of all 
government-owned media, who became less willing to investigate, 
write, or publish stories critical of the Government.

The Government took no action to restrain academic freedom 
during the year.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution provides for freedom of peaceful assembly and 
association, but on occasion the Government ignored these 
provisions.  Under the Public Order Act of 1955, persons or 
organizations wishing to hold an assembly, public meeting, or 
procession must first apply for a permit.  In almost all cases 
during 1993, authorities routinely issued such permits.  
Normally, grounds for denial of a permit involve concerns over 
a threat to public order and security, which is provided for 
both in the Public Order Act and the 1991 Constitution.  On May 
24, however, Northern Province Deputy Minister Daniel Kapapa 
ordered police to revoke a permit for a political rally 
organized by two former cabinet ministers, because, Kapapa told 
the press, the ministers had not paid a courtesy call on him 
and because they were likely to make insulting remarks about 
the President.

On August 18, the Home Affairs Minister ordered police not to 
issue permits to MMD Members of Parliament who had resigned to 
form the National Party (NP).  He warned that the former MMD 
members would be arrested if they attempted to address public 
gatherings in their constituencies.  Three days later Vice 
President Mwanawasa announced that the Government had reversed 
the Minister's decision.  During several parliamentary election 
campaigns late in the year, the NP experienced no significant 
difficulties in holding campaign rallies and other public 

All organizations must apply formally for registration to the 
Registrar of Societies.  In most cases these applications are 
routinely approved.  For example, there are now more than 30 
registered political parties.  The National Party, led by 
prominent breakaway MMD leaders, was registered within days of 
having filed its application in early September.  In April, 
however, the Government refused to register an Islamic party 
formed by the youth and student wing of the Islamic Council of 
Zambia.  When the Registrar of Societies rejected the 
application, the group appealed to Home Affairs Minister Zimba 
to intercede.  The Minister responded that the Registrar had 
made the correct decision, as the Constitution did not allow 
for the formation of religious parties.  However, Article 21 of 
the Constitution provides that "no person shall be hindered in 
the enjoyment of his freedom of assembly and association... and 
in particular to form or belong to any political party....."  
The same Article provides for the registration of political 
parties but says that only "reasonable conditions" may be 
established for the registration of parties and that it is 
unconstitutional to impose conditions "shown not to be 
reasonably justifiable in a democratic society."  During the 
state of emergency, the Government took no action to curtail 
the rights of political parties, including UNIP and other 
groups, to hold public meetings and assemblies.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Freedom of religion is provided for in the Constitution and is 
respected in practice.  Although President Chiluba has declared 
Zambia to be a Christian nation, other religions are practiced 
without interference.

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

The Constitution guarantees citizens the right to move freely 
throughout Zambia, to reside in any part of the country, and to 
depart from and return to the country without restriction.  The 
authorities generally respected these rights during 1993, but 
police roadblocks to control criminal activity continued and 
police often extorted money and goods from motorists.

According to UNIP, the Government seized the passports of 39 
party leaders in connection with the state of emergency and the 
subsequent investigation.  By year's end all of these passports 
had been returned to their holders.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 
estimated that there were approximately 142,000 refugees in 
Zambia in 1993, up slightly from 1992.  The majority were 
Angolans, with significant numbers of Mozambicans, Zairians, 
Somalis, and South Africans.  The repatriation of the 
approximately 15,000 Mozambicans proceeded slowly, while 
repatriation of approximately 125,000 Angolans stalled due to 
the renewed fighting in that country.  In July approximately 
1,500 minority Kasai from Shaba Province in Zaire fled into 
Zambia and requested refugee status.  They were fleeing both 
attempts by the Shaba Government to remove them forcibly from 
the province and restrictions that made it impossible for them 
to earn a living there.  After some hesitation, the Zambian 
Government agreed to let the Zairians proceed to a UNHCR 
refugee settlement in the northwest.  A steady trickle of 
Zairians continued to cross into Zambia during the year.  The 
alleged criminal activities of many Zairians in the border 
region was of considerable concern to the Government, and 
roundups, arrests, and deportations of Zairians and other 
illegal aliens continued throughout the year.  With respect to 
illegal aliens, these actions are lawful.  However, Zairians 
and others who have been accorded refugee status by the UNHCR 
are sometimes picked up and held for varying lengths of time 
before being released.

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

Zambian citizens exercised the right to change their government 
in free and fair multiparty elections in 1991 following years 
of one-party rule by the UNIP.  However, under the 1991 
Constitution the President wields broad authority.  Although 
Parliament ratifies major appointments and has other powers, in 
practice it is an ineffectual check on executive authority.  
While President Chiluba kept his promise to limit the scope and 
duration of the state of emergency, coming so soon after the 
advent of multiparty democracy, it constituted an ominous 
precedent.  Constitutional reform to increase the power of 
Parliament, a prominent plank in the MMD election platform, 
continued to proceed at an extremely slow pace, although in 
September the Government announced the formation of a 
constitutional commission to draft a new constitution.  The 
24-member commission represents a broad spectrum of Zambian 
society.  It is expected to complete its work in 1994.

The ruling MMD controls the executive branch and the 
Parliament.  With one exception, noted in Section 2.b., the MMD 
Government allowed opposition parties to operate freely.  
Several parliamentary byelections were hotly contested.  These 
elections, using the secret ballot, were generally free and 
fair.  In many constituencies turnout was low, continuing the 
pattern of 1992, but in others a considerable percentage of 
registered voters participated.  Though adult suffrage is 
universal, an outdated voter register requires revision in 
order to enfranchise new voters.  In August prominent MMD 
members, including former cabinet ministers, resigned from the 
party to form the National Party (NP).  After a brief delay, 
the Government permitted these politicians to operate freely 
and approved the registration of the new party

The number of influential women in politics and government is 
increasing; it includes cabinet ministers, deputy ministers, 
Members of Parliament, the Interim Chairman of the opposition 
National Party, ministerial permanent secretaries, and numerous 
elected local government officials.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

A number of human rights and civic organizations operate 
without hindrance.  These include the LAZ and FODEP.  The 
latter, along with the Young Women's Christian Association 
(YWCA), the Nongovernmental Organization Coordinating Committee 
(NGOCC), and other groups was active in promoting women's civil 
and political rights.  In general, the Government continued to 
be receptive to criticism from such organizations, but 
individual ministers sometimes became confrontational.  In 
September, for example, the Home Affairs Minister said that 
human rights advocates critical of government policies should 
"shut their mouths."  In September the Inspector General of 
Police complained that the actions of human rights monitors led 
to an increase in crime. 

The Government was receptive to inquiries or visits by 
international human rights organizations.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

The population of about 8 million comprises more than 70 
Bantu-speaking tribal groupings.  Economic and social needs are 
met on a generally nondiscriminatory basis.  The Constitution 
prohibits discrimination based on race, tribe, sex, place of 
origin, marital status, political opinion, color, or creed.  
Members of the Asian community, which includes many shopowners, 
continued to complain in 1993 of hostility from other Zambians.


Under civil and constitutional law, women are entitled to full 
equality with men in most areas.  In practice, Zambian women 
are severely disadvantaged compared to men in formal employment 
and education.  Married women who are employed often suffer 
from discriminatory conditions of service; allowances for 
housing and children and tax rebates to which they as employees 
are entitled often accrue to their husbands.  Similarly, women 
have little independent access to credit facilities; in most 
cases, they remain dependent on husbands, who are required to 
sign for loans.  As a result, few women own their own homes.

Under the citizenship laws, a Zambian man who marries a 
non-Zambian woman can transfer "resident rights" to his wife, 
but a Zambian woman who marries a non-Zambian man has no right 
to have her husband reside in Zambia.

Customary law and practice also place women in subordinate 
status with respect to property, inheritance, and marriage, 
despite various constitutional and legislated provisions.  In 
some areas, women are not allowed to hold land under customary 
tenure, and what they produce on land can be appropriated by 
the "rightful" holder, usually a male relative.  Under 
traditional customs, all rights to inherit property rested with 
the deceased man's family.  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.  Despite increasing efforts by nongovernmental 
organizations during 1993 to publicize the law, it remained 
generally ineffectual because of ignorance, apathy, fear, and 
lax enforcement by the police and the courts.  According to the 
YWCA, however, there were indications that increasing numbers 
of widows in urban areas were aware of their rights under the 
law and sought assistance and protection from NGO's or legal 

Violence against women remained a serious problem.  Wife 
beating and rape were commonplace, although there were no 
statistics available to document the precise extent of these 
abuses.  Domestic assault is a criminal offense, but in 
practice police are often reluctant to pursue reports of wife 
beating or other forms of abuse.  The Government mounted a 
publicity campaign to discourage wife beating, but there was no 
information about the campaign's effectiveness.  Authorities 
evinced serious concern in an apparent increase in rape, and 
offenders have been arrested, prosecuted, and sentenced to jail 


There was no pattern of discrimination or societal abuse 
against children, but scarce government resources and 
ineffective implementation of social programs adversely 
affected the welfare of children and adults alike.

     People with Disabilities

Persons with disabilities face significant societal 
discrimination in employment and education.  The basic law 
covering the disabled is the Handicapped Persons Act (HPA).  It 
established the Zambia Council for the Handicapped, a 
government organization, which provides rehabilitative and 
social service to the disabled.  There are no legal provisions 
prohibiting discrimination or mandating accessibility for the 
disabled.  In 1993 the Minister of Community Development and 
Social Services named a task force to study the problems of the 
disabled with a view to drafting a new law to replace the HPA 
and better safeguard the rights of the disabled.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The Constitution guarantees the right of citizens to form trade 
unions, and Zambia has a history of strong labor union 
organizations dating from the establishment of the copper mines 
in the 1930's.  Approximately 60 percent of the 300,000 formal 
sector workers are unionized.  The country's 19 large national 
unions are organized by industry or profession.  All are 
affiliated with the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).  
The ZCTU is democratically organized; it regularly conducts 
open elections to select its leadership.  Like its constituent 
unions, it is independent of any political party and the 
Government.  The ZCTU and other unions operated freely 
throughout the year and frequently criticized the MMD 
Government on such issues as economic policy, wages, and 
conditions of service.  The ZCTU is a member of the 
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.

On April 26, Parliament passed a new Industrial and Labor 
Relations Act (ILRA), which superseded the controversial 
Industrial Relations Act of 1991.  With the broad backing of 
labor, business, and government leaders, the new Act 
reestablished the principle of "one industry, one union" that 
had been abolished under the 1991 ILRA.  While acknowledging 
that the one industry, one union rule restricts the right of 
individuals to freely associate, union leaders successfully 
argued that a proliferation of unions would weaken organized 
labor.  Under the 1993 ILRA, therefore, a new union may be 
registered only if the Government determines that it represents 
a specific trade, profession, or category of employees who are 
qualified to form a union.  A group representing a trade, 
profession, or category of employees already represented by an 
existing trade union will not be registered.  Under the 1991 
Act, a number of new unions sought registration, including 
those purporting to represent bankers, miners, secondary school 
teachers, technical college staff, and civil servants.  
Depending on the Government's interpretation of the new law, 
some of these new unions may be recognized as legal entities.  
The 1993 ILRA also abolished the provision in the 1991 law 
disaffiliating unions from the ZCTU.  The new law automatically 
reaffiliated the unions with the ZCTU but also allows unions to 
leave the ZCTU through a simple majority vote of their members.

All workers have the right to strike except those engaged in 
essential services, the Zambia Defense Force, judicial service, 
police force, prison service, and security intelligence 
service.  Essential services are defined in the 1993 ILRA as 
power, medical, water, sewerage, firefighting, and certain 
mining occupations essential to safety.  Strikes and work 
stoppages were commonplace throughout the year as workers' 
salaries and conditions of service were undercut by harsh 
economic conditions and, until the last half of the year, sharp 
increases in the cost of living.  Strikes are permitted only 
after all other legal recourse has been exhausted, and in 
practice all work stoppages during the year were illegal.  At 
various times from May through August, many teachers and civil 
servants went on strike to protest the slow pace of 
negotiations with the Government on a new contract.  After a 
series of meetings between Government and union negotiators, 
the unions agreed in August to accept the Government's offer of 
a 50 percent salary increase.  The ZCTU and individual unions 
may affiliate with a trade union or organization outside Zambia 
by a simple majority vote of the membership.  Labor leaders 
travel without restriction to international conferences and to 
visit counterparts abroad.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The 1993 ILRA prohibits antiunion discrimination by employers 
against union members and organizers.  An employee who believes 
he has been penalized for union activities may, after 
exhausting any existing administrative channels for relief, 
file a complaint with the Industrial Relations Court.  This 
court has the power to order appropriate redress for the 
aggrieved worker.  The complainant may appeal a judgment of the 
Industrial Relations Court to the Supreme Court.  The 
Industrial Relations Court has the power to order employers to 
reinstate a worker fired for union activity.

Employers and unions in each industry negotiate collective 
bargaining agreements through joint councils in which there is 
no government involvement.  Collective disputes are first 
referred to a conciliator or a board of conciliation.  If 
conciliation fails to resolve the dispute the parties may refer 
the case to the Industrial Relations Court or, in the case of 
employees, vote to strike.  In practice, the industry joint 
councils function effectively as collective bargaining 

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Slavery and involuntary servitude are prohibited by the 
Constitution.  Forced labor is prohibited, except in the 
conduct of communal or civic obligations.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

By legislation, the minimum age for employment of children is 
16.  The Labor Commissioner effectively enforces this law in 
the industrial sector, where, because of adult unemployment, 
there are almost no jobs available to children under the age of 
16.  However, the law is not enforced for the vast majority of 
Zambians who work in the subsistence agricultural, domestic 
service, and informal sectors, where persons under age 16 are 
often employed.  In urban areas children commonly engage in 
street trading.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

In 1991 the Government established a minimum monthly wage rate 
for all employees, except professionals, plus housing and 
transportation allowances.  As of December 1993, according to 
the Labor Commissioner, this rate was approximately $7.50 or 
4,500 Zambian kwacha.  However, each industry may through 
collective bargaining set its own minimum wage rates above the 
legal floor, and in practice most formal sector workers receive 
salaries considerably higher than the minimum wage.  As of 
March 1993, for example, miners generally received a monthly 
salary of at least $50 (30,000 kwacha), and construction and 
engineering workers received between $20 and $75 (13,000 and 
45,000 kwacha), depending on position and seniority.  In 
nonunionized industries and trades, however, the minimum wage 
is applied.  This would include such positions as delivery 
assistants, general workers, and office orderlies.  The minimum 
wage is insufficient to provide an adequate standard of living, 
and most minimum wage earners must supplement their incomes 
through second jobs, subsistence farming, or reliance on the 
extended family.

The legal maximum workweek for nonunionized workers is 48 
hours.  Maximum limits for unionized workers vary.  For 
example, the legal maximum for unionized guards is 72 hours per 
week.  The minimum workweek for full-time employment is 40 
hours and is, in practice, the normal workweek.  Two days of 
annual leave per month of service are required by law.

Zambian law regulates minimum health and safety standards in 
any industrial undertaking.  Enforcement of industrial safety 
in the mines is the responsibility of the Department of Mines.  
Factory safety is handled by the Inspector of Factories under 
the Minister of Labor, but staffing problems chronically limit 
enforcement effectiveness.

[end of document]


Department Seal

Return to 1993 Human Rights Practices report home page.
Return to DOSFAN home page.
This is an official U.S. Government source for information on the WWW. Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.