I HAVE read the Zambian chapter of the Amnesty International Report 2021.
In my view, the report presents some relatively fair reporting. I think that Government did not even need to respond through a press briefing. Most governments don’t do so, but merely take corrective action, where need be.
Perusal of chapters for democracies such as UK, U.S, France, Italy, etc., shows that repression is a common denominator. In fact, repression is worse in countries that on the face of it we consider model democracies.
For example, the U.S. is a model democracy, so they say. However perusal of the Amnesty report U.S chapter shows that in the last one year, at least 1, 000 people were killed by racist police using firearms.
Black people get disproportionately killed by police use of lethal force to the extent where by government does not even track how many such deaths occur annually; no state laws governing the use of lethal force by police.
Even where such laws exist, there is no respect for international law and standards regarding the use of lethal force by law enforcement officials.
With regard to freedom of assembly, the report states that law enforcement across the U.S. committed widespread and egregious human rights violations against people protesting about the unlawful killings of black people and calling for police reform.
The report documents 125 separate incidents of unlawful police violence against protesters in at least 40 states and Washington, D.C., just within one week.
Police brutality reported includes beatings with batons or other devices, the misuse of tear gas and pepper spray, and the inappropriate and indiscriminate firing of “less lethal” weapons.
Compared to Zambia, these revelations show that we are by far better off than the U.S. in terms of police repression.
My advice to our government is that there is no need to be oversensitive on the report, but just put in place corrective action. Just like was done when two people were shot dead by a policeman at Cabinet Office last December.
Chapwa. Actions speak louder than words.