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, 1995
Author:  U.S. Department of State
Date:  March 1996


Zambia is a republic governed by a president, a unicameral national 
assembly, and a constitutionally independent judiciary.  After two 
decades of one-party rule, 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, a former 
trade unionist.  In addition to the former ruling party, the United 
National Independence Party (UNIP), approximately 40 opposition parties 
were active to varying degrees.

The police, divided into regular and paramilitary units, operating under 
the Ministry of Home Affairs, have primary responsibility for 
maintaining law and order.  The Zambia Intelligence Security Service, 
under the office of the president, is responsible for intelligence and 
internal security.  The police continued to commit numerous serious 

During 1995 the Chiluba Government continued its free market economic 
reform program.  However, changes in economic policy early in the year 
led to reversals on inflation, currency stabilization, and real interest 
rates.  New taxes were required to get back on track.  Allegations of 
high-level corruption in the Government continued.  Poor rains during 
the 1994-95 growing season resulted in a reduced harvest of maize, the 
staple food, and renewed appeals to donors.  Although the key copper 
industry benefitted from increased world prices, production continued to 
fall, resulting in a significant loss of income.  Successful 
privatization in other industries has created some jobs.

The Government continued to take steps to address one of the most 
serious human rights problems, police brutality.  Throughout the year 
the government-appointed Human Rights Commission aggressively pursued 
allegations of past and present human rights abuses and kept public 
attention focused on incidents of police wrongdoing.  Nevertheless, by 
year's end much remained to be done to restore professionalism and 
discipline to the police force.  Despite reform efforts begun in 1994, 
including human rights training and punishment of some offenders, the 
police continued to commit abuses, including beatings and extrajudicial 
killing of criminal suspects and detainees.  

The Government generally respected Zambians' civil liberties but as the 
year ended, a number of actions raised doubts about its commitment to an 
open and fair electoral process in the period before the October 1996 
national elections.  These actions included acceptance of clauses in the 
draft constitution, presented to President Chiluba in June, that would 
bar former President Kenneth Kaunda from running for president, public 
statements by Government leaders threatening 

Kaunda with deportation, and delays in updating voter registration 
rolls.  The delays led to the indefinite postponment of nationwide local 
government elections originally scheduled for November.  In addition, 
although the press publishes freely, the Government has persisted in 
attempts to limit freedom of the press.  Prison conditions deteriorated 
further, posing an increased threat to the health and lives of inmates, 
and women continued to experience discrimination in both law and fact.  
Wife beating and rape remained widespread.


Section 1.   Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 

   a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no reports of political killings during the year, but police 
continued to use excessive force that often resulted in extrajudicial 
killings.  According to reliable press reports, almost all based on 
statements by police spokesmen, police killed approximately 17 criminal 
suspects during the year.  Most of these killings allegedly occurred 
when police attempted to apprehend suspects during the commission of 

In December army recruits at a training facility north of Kapiri Mposhi 
attacked several villages in retaliation for the death of one of their 
fellow recruits at the hands of three villagers.  They killed 2 
civilians and left 1,000 temporarily homeless.  The Government provided 
some financial compensation and the Ministry of Defense promised to 
investigate and take appropriate action.  At year's end, however, no 
action had been taken against the soldiers who attacked the villages.  

Throughout the year, government officials, nongovernmental organizations 
(NGO's), and the press closely scrutinized police involvement in human 
rights abuses, criminal activity, and corruption.  Francis Ndhlovu, 
Inspector General of Police, continued to exercise his mandate to reform 
the force.  Ndhlovu instituted a variety of measures designed to restore 
discipline, professionalism, and respect for human rights, including 
police training in respect for human rights.  Ndhlovu cooperated with 
the Human Rights Commission by making police officers available to 
testify.  He also undertook investigations of instances of police use of 
excessive force, disciplining officers who committed human rights 
abuses.  According to statistics made available by Inspector General 
Ndhlovu, at least 15 police officers were the subjects of internal 
investigations or prosecutions between January and September.  Further, 
according to press reports, the authorities arrested at least 10 police 
officers between January 1 and September 15 on such criminal charges as 
robbery and possession of illegal narcotics.  One officer has been 
convicted for an assault on a Member of Parliament.  

The Human Rights Commission, chaired by prominent attorney Bruce 
Munyama, aggressively examined police human rights abuses in public 
hearings held in the first half of the year.  These hearings not only 
brought to light numerous abuses, but they also forced police officers 
to account for their behavior in sworn testimony.  In September the 
Commission submitted its final report to the President, including 
recommendations to improve the human rights performance of the police.  
The report is expected to be published in the near future.  

   b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances.

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

Although the 1991 Constitution prohibits torture, police regularly used 
excessive force when apprehending, interrogating, and detaining criminal 
suspects or illegal aliens.  In most such instances, detaining officers 
beat suspects.  During the year, the Human Rights Commission heard 
testimony from numerous credible witnesses who said that police had 
assaulted and beaten them.  The Government took no action to discipline 
police officers for past incidents of abuse or torture.  

Deteriorating prison conditions posed an increasing threat to prisoners' 
lives.  According to official statistics, prisons designed to hold 6,500 
prisoners held over 12,000.  This severe overcrowding, combined with 
poor sanitation, inadequate medical facilities, meager food supplies, 
and lack of potable water resulted in serious outbreaks of dysentery and 
other diseases at various prisons throughout the year.  The press 
reported that on numerous occasions, prisons ran out of food and 
prisoners were fed only coarse hominy and salt.

   d.   Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Criminal suspects are often arrested on the basis of flimsy evidence or 
an uncorroborated accusation.  In these and other criminal cases, the 
law requires that a detainee be charged and brought before a magistrate 
within 24 hours.  Pretrial detainees are allowed access by attorneys and 
family members.  In practice, the authorities hold most detainees for 
more than 1 month from the time of arrest to first appearance before a 
magistrate.  In many cases, an additional period of 6 months elapses 
before the magistrate commits the defendant to the High Court for trial.  
Following committal, preparation of the magistrate court record for 
transmittal to the High Court takes months--in some cases as long as a 
year.  Once a case reaches the High Court for trial, court proceedings 
last an average of 6 months.

Approximately 3,000 of the 12,000 prisoners are awaiting trial on 
criminal charges.  In a few cases, defendants have been awaiting trial 
for 10 years.  These long delays are the result of inadequate resources, 
inefficiency, lack of trained personnel, and broad rules of procedure 
that give wide latitude to prosecutors and defense attorneys to request 
adjournments.  Although there is a functioning bail system, overcrowded 
prisons reflect the large number of detainees who have committed serious 
offenses for which bail is not granted.  These include murder, 
aggravated robbery, and since 1993, violations of the narcotics laws.  
Also, poor or indigent detainees rarely have the financial means to post 
bail.  The government legal aid office is responsible for providing 
legal representation to poor or indigent detainees and defendants in 
criminal or civil cases.  In practice, few receive assistance.  In 1995 
the office had 15 attorneys to cover the entire country and a budget of 

According to well-informed sources, police stations frequently become 
"debt collection centers," where police officers, acting upon an 
unofficial complaint, will detain a debtor without charge indefinitely 
until he or she pays the complainant.  In return, the police receive a 
percentage of the payment.  This situation is commonplace among police 
stations in Copperbelt province.  

The authorities held approximately 550 foreigners, principally from 
neighboring countries, as illegal aliens until they could deport them.  
At times, these detentions last months or years.  In the past the 
Government has not used exile for political purposes.  In October, 
however, government leaders publicly questioned the citizenship of 
former President Kaunda and said that he could be liable to deportation.  
The Government backpedalled when a police summons to Kaunda to appear 
for questioning sparked disturbances in Lusaka.  At year's end, the 
Government had not again broached the question of Kaunda's nationality.  
However, the case surrounding the 1994 deportation of John Chinula, a 
member of the Central Committee of UNIP, continued in the courts.  
Minister of Home Affairs Chitalu Sampa said that Chinula had been 
determined by the Government to have been a "prohibited immigrant" who 
entered Zambia illegally from Malawi, where the Government alleged he 
was born.  Legal and human rights groups continued to protest the 
deportation, asserting--along with Chinula--that Chinula had been born 
in Zambia and that his deportation was a denial of due process.  In 
September the Lusaka High Court refused to grant habeas corpus to 
Chinula, stating that he was in fact a citizen of Malawi, and therefore 
had no right to bring a case in a Zambian court following his 
deportation to his native country.  Chinula's longstanding ties to 
Zambia and his prominence as a politician raised questions about the 
Government's motives in deporting him.  

   e.   Denial of Fair Public Trial

The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary, and the 
Government respects the independence of the judiciary in practice.  The 
President nominates and the National Assembly confirms the Chief Justice 
and the other eight members of the Supreme Court.  The Court has 
appellate jurisdiction for all legal and constitutional disputes.  
Several high courts have authority to hear criminal and civil cases and 
appeals from lower courts.  Magistrate courts have original jurisdiction 
in some criminal and civil cases, while local, or customary, courts 
handle most civil cases at the local level.

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.  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 Penal Code; for example, they tend to 
discriminate against women in matters of inheritance (see Section 5).

Trials in magistrate courts are public, and defendants have the 
opportunity to confront accusers and present witnesses.  

Proceedings against all but two of the UNIP members detained in 
connection with the 1993 state of emergency have been concluded, and 
none of the detainees are currently in custody.  Regarding the two 
outstanding cases, Bwendo Mulengela was found guilty of conspiring 
against the state and sentenced to a short prison term.  He is free on 
bond pending the outcome of his appeal.  Kenneth Kuanda's son Wezi was 
released on bond pending a final ruling in his case.  

There were no reports of political prisoners.  

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

The Constitution provides for respect for privacy and the inviolability 
of the home, and the authorities generally respected these rights in 

Except during a state of emergency, the law requires a warrant before 
police may enter a home.  Roundups of suspected illegal aliens in the 
home or workplace continued.  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

While the Constitution provides for freedom of expression and of the 
press, the Penal Code lists various prohibited activities that may be 
broadly interpreted and in effect restrict freedom of expression and the 
press.  By year's end, no action had been taken on media reform 
proposals to revise many of these archaic penal code provisions.  The 
Government generally respected freedom of expression, but invoked these 
restrictive laws--for example, prohibiting defamation of the President--
in selected cases.  The Government or its appointed officials filed 
numerous libel and defamation suits against the independent biweekly 
newspaper, The Post, in response to a series of headlines and articles 
focusing on issues of corruption and controversial government policies.  
In June the Government attempted to use extralegal means to deny The 
Post access to a parastatal printing facility, but quickly abandoned its 
effort under public pressure.

Zambian law includes provisions for investigative tribunals to call as 
witnesses journalists and media managers who print allegations of 
parliamentary misconduct.  Failure to cooperate with the tribunal may 
result in charges of contempt punishable by up to 6 months.  This is 
seen by the media as a clear infringement on press freedom and a means 
for parliamentarians to bypass the clogged court system in dealing with 
libel suits against the media.  The Press Association of Zambia has its 
own media ethics code and a voluntary industry ethics board.

The Government owns the two most widely circulated newspapers, as well 
as the sole television station, ZNBC.  In addition to the Government-
controlled radio station, one Christian missionary affiliated station 
operated in Zambia.  A number of independent newspapers actively 
question government actions and policies and circulate without 
government interference.  In August ZNBC, and MNET, a South African 
company, together launched a subscriber television service.  It 
rebroadcasts the British Broadcasting Corporation's World News but 
provides no local news reporting.  The Government exercises considerable 
influence over the government-owned media, which to an increasing degree 
have followed the government line on important issues.

The Government took no action to restrain academic freedom during the 

   b.   Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution provides for freedom of peaceful assembly and 
association.  In practice, the Government generally respected these 
provisions, but as the year unfolded it demonstrated increased readiness 
to use the Public Order Act of 1955 to prohibit selected political 
assemblies.  Under this Act, persons or organizations wishing to hold an 
assembly, public meeting, or procession must first apply for a permit.  
The Government routinely granted these permits to political parties and 
nonpolitical organizations, but it twice denied permits to former 
President Kaunda, arresting him in both cases for illegal assembly.  
Court proceedings in these cases had not concluded by year's end.  In 
October the Government revoked permission for NGO's and church leaders 
to march in protest of the Government's rejection of several 
recommendations of the Constitutional Review Commission, and a number of 
NGO and church leaders were briefly detained.  All organizations must 
apply formally for registration to the Registrar of Societies.  In most 
cases the authorities routinely approved these applications.  

   c.   Freedom of Religion

Freedom of religion is provided for in the Constitution.  The Government 
respects this right in practice.

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

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

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that 
there were approximately 113,000 refugees, mainly Angolans, in Zambia in 
1995.  The Government cooperated with the UNHCR in processing 
applications for refugee status.

A steady trickle of Zairians continued to cross into Zambia during the 
year.  In response to alleged criminal activities of many Zairians in 
the border region, the Government rounded up, arrested, and deported 
many Zairians and other illegal aliens throughout the year.  The 
deportation of illegal aliens is lawful, but Zairians and others who had 
been accorded refugee status by the UNHCR were sometimes detained and 
held for varying lengths of time before being released.  In several 
cases, the Government deported refugees who were registered with the 

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

Citizens exercised the right to change their government in free and fair 
multiparty elections in 1991, following years of one-party rule by UNIP.  
Elections for President and the National Assembly are scheduled for 
1996.  The ruling MMD controls the National Assembly. 

Under the 1991 Constitution the President wields broad authority.  
Although the National Assembly ratifies major appointments and has other 
powers, in practice it continued during 1995 to provide only a limited 
check on executive authority.

The pace of constitutional reform increased during the year as the 24-
member Constitutional Review Commission completed its work and delivered 
a draft constitution to the President in June.  The draft contained 
controversial clauses that would bar former President Kaunda from 
running for the presidency in 1996.  One clause required a candidate's 
parents to have been born in Zambia; Kaunda's parents were born during 
the colonial era in what would later become Malawi.  In September the 
Government issued a White Paper that approved this recommendation.  The 
White Paper also proposed that the amendments to the constitution be 
approved by the National Assembly, in which the ruling MMD enjoyed a 
large majority, rather than by a constituent assembly or by referendum.  
Amid the public debate that ensued, opposition parties strongly 
criticized both recommendations.   

Although the MMD continued to be the dominant political force, UNIP 
showed strength in a number of by-elections following the return of 
former President Kaunda to its leadership.  The National Party, formed 
in 1993, struggled to remain a viable party, but experienced serious 
setbacks including defections to the ruling MMD of some of its leading 
members.  The opposition accused the MMD of using political intimidation 
and economic reprisals in an effort to create a de facto one-party 

During the year, there were approximately 40 political parties in 
operation.  Several contested national assembly by-elections.  These 
elections generally featured a low turnout of registered voters, and 
while the MMD's use of government resources--including the state-owned 
media--during campaigns probably did not affect their outcomes, their 
fairness was put into question.  The urgent need for updated voter 
registration rolls (last done in 1987) and the Government's failure to 
implement a transparent, effective registration project raised doubts 
about the Government's willingness to have an open electoral process.  
Lack of a new voter register led the Government to postpone indefinitely 
nationwide local government elections scheduled for November.  

The number of women in politics and government is increasing, but the 
total remains small.  Some women now serve as cabinet ministers, deputy 
ministers, members of the National Assembly, and ministerial permanent 
secretaries.  Women are also represented among elected local government 
officials and leaders of nongovernmental organizations in greater 

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

A number of human rights and civic organizations operated without 
government hindrance.  These include the Law Association of Zambia, the 
Foundation for Democratic Process, and the Zambia Civic Education 
Association (ZCEA).  Other groups were active in promoting women's civil 
and political rights.  The government-appointed Human Rights Commission 
operated throughout the year and, as previously noted, was a vigorous 
human rights advocate.  In general, the Government continued to be 
receptive to criticism from human rights and civic organizations, but on 
occasion, government officials, including the Home Affairs Minister, 
accused human rights monitors of abetting crime and thwarting the work 
of the police through their focus on the victims of police brutality.

Although a dispute over course content had disrupted human rights 
training in 1994, the ZCEA and police agreed to resume the training in 
early 1995 at the police training academy.  Police officers regularly 
appeared before the Human Rights Commission.  The Government was 
receptive to inquiries and visits by international human rights 

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

The Constitution prohibits discrimination based on race, tribe, sex, 
place of origin, marital status, political opinion, color, or creed; 
however, the Government does not effectively enforce the prohibition 
against discrimination based on sex.  


Violence against women remained a serious problem.  Wife beating and 
rape were commonplace.  According to official statistics, over 2,500 
rape cases were reported to the police between 1990 and 1995.  Of these, 
approximately 30 percent resulted in conviction and 5 percent in 
acquittal.  The remainder were either dismissed or remain unresolved.  
Defendants convicted of rape normally were sentenced to prison at hard 
labor.  Since many rapes are not reported to the police, the actual 
number is considered much higher.  Domestic assault is a criminal 
offense, but in practice police are often reluctant to pursue reports of 
wife beating, preferring to broker a reconciliation.  The Government and 
NGO's expressed increasing concern about violence against women, and the 
media devoted considerable publicity to it during the year.

Both the Constitution and law entitle women to full equality with men in 
most areas.  In practice, however, women are severely disadvantaged 
compared to men in formal employment and education.  Married women who 
are employed often suffer from discriminatory conditions of service.  
For example, 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.

Customary law and practice also place women in subordinate status with 
respect to property, inheritance, and marriage, despite various 
constitutional and legislative provisions.  Under traditional customs 
prevalent in most ethnic groups, all rights to inherit property rest 
with the deceased man's family.  The 1989 Intestate Succession Act is 
designed to guarantee women a share of the joint estate.  Under this 
Act, the children of a deceased man share equally 50 percent; the widow 
receives 20 percent; the parents, 20 percent; and relatives, 10 percent.  
In practice, "property grabbing" by the relatives of the deceased man 
continues to be rampant, particularly when local customary courts have 
jurisdiction.  These courts often use a different law, the Local Courts 
Act, to distribute inheritances without reference to the percentages 
mandated in the Succession Act.  As a result, many widows receive little 
or nothing from the estate.  Fines mandated by the Succession Act for 
property grabbing are extraordinarily low.  The Ministry of Legal 
Affairs and NGO's promised to amend the law to safeguard the rights of 
women more effectively and to increase the penalties for violations.  By 
year's end, however, an amended Succession Act had not yet been 
introduced in the National Assembly.


The Government seeks to improve the welfare of children, but scarce 
resources and ineffective implementation of social programs adversely 
affected the welfare of children and adults alike.  Due to harsh 
economic conditions, both rural and urban children often must work in 
the informal sector to help families make ends meet (see Section 6.d.).  
There was no pattern of discrimination or societal abuse against 

   People with Disabilities

Persons with disabilities face significant societal discrimination in 
employment and education.  The Government took steps to ameliorate their 
hardship, including the establishment of a national trust fund to 
provide loans to the disabled to help them start businesses.  The 
Government has not legislated or otherwise mandated accessibility to 
public buildings and services for the disabled.

Section 6   Worker Rights

   a.   The Right of Association

The Constitution provides for the right of citizens to form trade 
unions, and approximately 60 percent of the 300,000 formal sector 
workers are unionized.  Most of the country's national unions, organized 
by industry or profession, are affiliated with the Zambia Congress of 
Trade Unions (ZCTU).  The ZCTU is democratically operated and, like its 
constituent unions, is independent of any political party and the 
Government.  By a majority vote of its members, a union may decide on 
affiliation with the ZCTU or with trade unions or organizations outside 
Zambia.  The ZCTU is a member of the International Confederation of Free 
Trade Unions.  Labor leaders travel without restriction to international 
conferences and to visit counterparts abroad.  The Mine Workers Union of 
Zambia and a number of other ZCTU constituent unions broke from the ZCTU 
and established a rival umbrella organization.  

The 1993 Industrial and Labor Relations Act (ILRA) reestablished the 
"one industry, one union" principle, but in April Labor Minister 
Newstead Zimba announced that the Government had ratified International 
Labor Organization (ILO) Conventions 87 and 98 on freedom of 
association, requiring the abolition of the one industry, one union 
principle and paving the way for the free registration of trade unions 
in Zambia.  By year's end, however, the National Assembly had not yet 
passed the required implementing amendments to the ILRA.  As a result, 
the legal status of the new labor umbrella organization and a number of 
new unions remained uncertain.  

All workers have the right to strike, except those engaged in essential 
services, the Zambia Defense Force, the judiciary, the police, the 
prison service, and the intelligence security service.  The ILRA defines 
essential services as power, medical, water, sewerage, firefighting, and 
certain mining occupations essential to safety.  It permits strikes only 
after all other legal recourse has been exhausted, and in practice all 
work stoppages during the year were illegal.  The ILRA prohibits 
employers from retribution against employees engaged in legal trade 
union activities.  Workers engaged in illegal strikes do not enjoy this 
protection, and there were at least two instances in 1994 when employers 
fired workers engaged in illegal strikes.

   b.   The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The right to bargain collectively is established by legislation and is 
contained in the ILRA.  Employers and unions in each industry negotiate 
collective bargaining agreements through joint councils in which there 
is no government involvement.  In practice, the industry joint councils 
function effectively as collective bargaining units.  Civil servants and 
teachers, as public officials, negotiate directly with the Government.  
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, legal strikes under the ILRA 
are rare.  The ILRA prohibits antiunion discrimination by employers 
against union members and organizers.  An employee who believes he or 
she 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.  In practice, the Court often orders employers to reinstate 
workers found to have been the victims of discrimination.

There are no export processing zones.

   c.   Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The Constitution prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude, but it 
authorizes citizens to be called upon to perform labor in specific 
instances, for example, during national emergencies or disasters.  
Moreover, a citizen can be required to perform labor that is associated 
with traditional civic or communal obligations, as when all members of a 
village are called upon to assist in preparing for a visit by a 
traditional leader or other dignitary.

   d.   Minimum Age for Employment of Children

By legislation, the minimum age for employment of children is 16 years.  
The Labor Commissioner effectively enforces this law in the industrial 
sector, in which, because of the high demand for employment by adults, 
there are no jobs available to children.  The law is not enforced, 
however, for those 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 vending.

   e.   Acceptable Conditions of Work

The minimum wage for nonunionized workers is set at $0.08 (70.30 kwacha) 
per hour.  The minimum wage applies to nonunionized workers in 
categories such as general workers, cleaners, office orderlies, and 
watchmen.  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.

With respect to unionized workers, each industry sets its own wage 
scales and maximum workweek limits through collective bargaining.  In 
practice, almost all unionized workers receive salaries considerably 
higher than the nonunion minimum wage.  The minimum workweek for full-
time employment is 40 hours and is, in practice, the normal workweek.  
The law requires 2 days of annual leave per month of service.

The law also regulates minimum health and safety standards in industry, 
and the Department of Mines is responsible for enforcement.  Factory 
safety is handled by the Inspector of Factories under the Minister of 
Labor, but staffing problems chronically limit enforcement 
effectiveness.  There are no legislative provisions to protect a worker 
who refuses to work on safety grounds.

[end of document]


Department Seal

Return to 1995 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.