Justice Minister Given Lubinda has proposed that the African Union (AU) should come up with stern and practical measures to deal with leaders who breach human rights of citizens in their respective countries.

And All People’s Congress (APC) leader Nason Msoni has welcomed Lubinda’s recommendation, saying leaders whose hands are soiled must not be allowed to champion the cause of the Continental body.

Speaking when launched the Africa Governance and Targeted Review of the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) on behalf of President Edgar Lungu in Livingstone, Thursday, Lubinda said leaders that breached human rights in their own countries should not be given an opportunity to chair the AU.

“The United Nations has gradually expanded the human rights law to encompass specific standards for women, children, persons with disabilities, minorities and other vulnerable groups, who now possess rights that protect them from discrimination that had long been common in many societies. Values and principles enshrined in ratified documents must be respected and made practical. For example, a leader accused of ignoring attacks against foreign nationals in their country must not be allowed to chair sub-regional organisations or the African Union,” said Lubinda, according to a statement issued by First Secretary for Press and Tourism at the Zambian Mission in Ethiopia Inutu Mwanza.

And supporting Lubinda’s recommendation in a separate statement, Msoni hoped that other nations would also adopt a similar position in the furtherance of the objectives of the AU.

“We wholeheartedly and in truth welcome the statement issued by the Zambian Justice Minister, Mr Given Lubinda, to debar African leaders who violate human rights with impunity in their respective countries from being allowed to chair the continental body and we think that this is progressive. We think that statement should be supported by all progressive governments and citizens likewise across Africa. Leaders whose hands are so swelled cannot be seen to be in the forefront championing the cause of the continental body,” stated Msoni.

“We think that this is shameful to all concerned and invariably this is what brings the continental body into disrepute and ridicule from the international community for the obvious reasons that human rights are universal and there is no other definition for human rights, and human rights must be viewed in their proper context, using the same universal prism and nothing less. To this end, we welcome the statement with both hands in the interim and we hope that other nations will adopt this similar position in the furtherance of the objectives of the AU.”

The APRM is an African self-assessment and self-monitoring mechanism by participating states to strengthen democratic institutions and promote good governance.

It is also a governance tool to promote democracy, political and corporate governance.

Others present at the APRM included Zambia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the AU Emmanuel Mwamba, Southern Province Minister, Edify Hamukale, APRM Chief Executive Officer, Prof. Eddy Maloka and delegates from across AU member states.