HRC probes female police, pupils sexual abuse claims

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 13:05:08 +0000


By Kalobwe Bwalya

THE Human Rights Commission (HRC) is investigating reported cases of sexual abuse of pupils at Kasama Girls Secondary School in Northern Province to establish the truth and ensure that culprits are dealt with in accordance with the laws pertaining to gender based violence.

HRC spokesperson Mweelwa Muleya has also disclosed that the commission was investigating allegations of sexual abuse of female police recruits at Lilayi Police Training College in Lusaka and so far one female has officially lodged a complaint with the commission.

“Depending on the findings of the investigations, the commission will engage the Zambia Police Service to ensure that perpetrators of girls’ and women’s sexual exploitation and abuse are appropriately punished for acts of either rape, defilement or both as the case may be.

Rape and defilement are serious forms of violence and abuses of human rights against women and girls and constitute a crime against humanity as it is used as a weapon of compromising the vulnerable women into harmful sexual practices,’’ said Mr Muleya.

He said sexual abuse was the worst form of torture, cruelty, inhumanity and degrading treatment women and girls suffer at the hands of their perpetrators and it had long lasting physical and psychological impacts because they violated their inherent dignity and worth of a person.

He said the commission acknowledged the pledge by the Government through the Ministry of General Education and the Ministry of Home Affairs to investigate the allegations of sexual abuse at the two institutions.

Mr Muleya noted that such publicly pronounced commitments were in line with the Government’s national, regional and international human rights obligation to protect victims of human rights violations through effective and prompt investigations and punishing of perpetrators and granting effective remedies to victims.

“Government has an obligation under Article 15 of the Zambian Constitution, Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the UN Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment to protect the victims and punish the perpetrators,” said Mr Muleya .

The commission has since appealed to victims to report their ordeals to the HRC offices in Lusaka, Chipata, Kasama, Livingstone, Mongu and Ndola or call on the commission on toll free line 8181. The commission has also assured the victims of strict confidentiality and protection from any form of reprisal as a result of reporting cases of human rights violations. The commission appealed for honest and truthful complaints by alleged victims to avoid violating the rights and reputation of innocent people, particularly through the social media where they may not defend themselves.



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