Title page for ETD etd-09142012-114254

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Ngoma, Pauline Tionenji Mulanda
URN etd-09142012-114254
Document Title A critical examination of the socio-economic rights of prisoners in Zambia in the context of international minimum standards
Degree LLM
Department Centre for Human Rights
Advisor Name Title
Prof M Hansungule Supervisor
  • socio-economic rights
  • Zambia
  • prisoners
Date 2012-04-11
Availability unrestricted
The subject matter pertaining to the socio-economic rights of prisoners, is a subject area that has been neglected by legal academics in Zambia. Therefore, it was only fitting to give this topic, the attention it deserves. When the topic at hand was elected, it was underlined by three assumptions. The first assumption being that in the Zambian legal system, the socio-economic rights of prisoners are not duly acknowledged, respected and promoted. The second assumption was that prisoners are ill-treated, such that their dignity is taken away by virtue of their confinement to a prison. The last assumption was that Zambia is not abiding by its international and regional minimum human rights law obligations, pertaining to detained persons.

Consequently, the investigations described below were undertaken to prove the validity of these three assumptions.

Firstly, reports of institution such as the Human Rights Commission and the Human Rights Watch, were employed to acquire a more in-depth understanding of the socio-economic conditions in prisons around Zambia. In their totality, the reports revealed that the majority of Zambian prisons are places where human rights violations manifest, due to the inhumane socio-economic conditions and treatment of prisoners.

Secondly, a critical analysis of the provisions relevant to the socio-economic rights of prisoners in the Prisons Act1 and the Prison Rules2 and Zambian Constitution,3 was undertaken. The analysis, aimed at ascertaining the content of the law in so far as recognizing, protecting and realizing the socio-economic rights of prisoners, finds that neither of these pieces of legislation expressly recognize the rights in question. Consequently, the realization of these rights is dependant on general law which includes but is not limited to the Public Health Act,,sup>4 the National Health Services Act5 and the National Food and Nutrition Commission Act.6 Thirdly, the relevant provisions of both soft and hard international human rights law instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR),7 the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),8 the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR),9 the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMR),10 the Body of Principles for the Protection of all Persons Under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment,11 the Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners,12 the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR),13 the Kampala Declaration on Prison Conditions in Africa 14 and the Robben Island Guidelines15 were analyzed.

The analysis of which the focal point is on whether Zambia is complying with the international minimum standards for the treatment of prisoners and prison conditions, leads to the finding that Zambia is in violation of numerous provisions in the aforementioned instruments and that the treatment of prisoners as well as IX the prison conditions in most prisons, falls short of international minimum standards.

In summary, the various reports of a parastatal,16 the reports of NGO’s17 and the state party reports of Zambia18 to bodies of the United Nations and African Union, have rendered the abovementioned assumptions, actual facts.

Put differently, the states’ failure to domesticate international human rights law, its inability to harmonize national laws and the judiciary’s failure to embrace its autonomy, are some of the factors that have resulted in a culture of undermining the value of the socio-economic rights of prisoners, which in turn impedes their realization.

Copyright © 2011, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Ngoma, PTM 2011, A critical examination of the socio-economic rights of prisoners in Zambia in the context of international minimum standards, LLM dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-09142012-114254 / >


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