THE Human Rights Commission (HRC) says it is encouraging that the incoming government has committed to ending lawlessness, arguing that that the breakdown of law and order by PF supporters was one of the major causes of human rights violations.

In a statement, Tuesday, HRC chairperson Mudford Mwandenga said the speech by President-elect Hakainde Hichilema on protecting human rights was inspiring.

“The breakdown of law and order and abuse of power by supporters of the ruling party with impunity is one of the major causes of human rights violations. Therefore, it is encouraging that the incoming UPND government has committed itself to end such lawlessness. The speech by the President-elect was also inspiring on promoting and protecting human rights, the commitment to upholding the constitutional rights to freedom of association, assembly and movement for which were in serious jeopardy during the recent past for perceived government critics. It should be recalled that the wanton suppression of the right to freedom of assembly has in the past resulted in grave human rights violations such as arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and extra-judicial killings,” he said.

Mwandenga stated that the Commission looked forward to enhanced promotion and protection of human rights by the incoming government.

“The Human Rights Commission (HRC/Commission) wishes to congratulate Mr Hakainde Hichilema on his election as the next President of the Republic of Zambia and looks forward to enhanced promotion and protection of human rights by the incoming government. The Commission is particularly encouraged by the unwavering pledge by President-elect Hichilema to strengthen democracy, upholding the Rule of Law, Constitutionalism and Human Rights during his speech after being declared winner. The Commission is further encouraged by the commitment to restore order which was followed by a call to those celebrating to refrain from either harming anyone or destroying property as well as to stay away from managing public facilities such as markets and bus stations,” he said.

Mwandenga further stated that the reported cases of looting and violence must come to an end.

“The Commission wishes to reiterate the President-elect’s message for responsible and peaceful celebration and respect for human rights, including the right to property of everyone. The reported isolated cases of looting, violence or threatening violence against political opponents and extortion in the aftermath of the 12th August 2021 elections must stop. The Commission will continue executing its mandate of providing independent and professional advice to the in-coming Government as it was doing to the outgoing Government in order to build a sustainable culture of human rights necessary for sustainable political, economic and social development for all,” stated Mwandenga.