HRC calls for immediate action to avert Cholera Crisis in detention facilities

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WITH the Cholera outbreak currently ravaging the country and leading to numerous deaths, the Human Rights Commission (HRC) is calling on justice institutions to implement special measures aimed at preventing the disease outbreak in detention and correctional facilities.

HRC spokesperson Mweelwa Muleya In a press release today dated Highlighted the heightened vulnerability of individuals deprived of liberty.

She emphasized the increased risk of contracting cholera due to overcrowding and inadequate access to water supply and sanitation services in these facilities.

Yesterday, Zambia Correctional Service (ZCS) commissioner general Fredrick Chilukutu revealed that correctional facilities with 10659 capacity were overpopulated with 25,372 inmated  representing 150 percent congestion rate.

The Commission therefore urged Law Enforcement Agencies, specifically the Zambia Police Service, to utilize discretionary powers to grant bond, aiming to decongest police cells and mitigate the spread of cholera to detention centers. 

Simultaneously, the HRC called for enhanced collaboration and understanding among lawyers, the National Prosecution Authority (NPA), and the judiciary to facilitate the granting of bail to deserving suspects and accused persons.

“Further, efforts must be stepped up to improve the provision of adequate water

supply and sanitation services in detention facilities such as in police cells and correctional facilities,” added Muleya.

The HRC warned that a cholera outbreak in these overcrowded and poorly maintained facilities could jeopardize the health and lives of both detainees and facility officers. 

By Moses Makwaya

Kalemba January 9, 2023

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