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State reporting drafting workshop on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Zambia

11 September 2017 - On Wednesday 9 August to Friday 11 August 2017, the Women's Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights (the Centre) took part in a three-day state reporting drafting workshop on the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (African Charter) hosted by the Ministry of Justice in Zambia. 

The workshop was held in the serene Sandy Lodge in Chilanga, Zambia. The workshop brought together a total of 22 participants from the relevant government ministries, National Human Rights Commission and Civil Society organisations involved in the state reporting process. 
 

The workshop is the second and a follow up of a two-part series of state reporting drafting workshop that has so far been held in Zambia. The first workshop was held from the 12 June to the 16 June 2017 and focused on the drafting of Part B (Maputo Protocol) of Zambia’s state report to the African Commission.
 
To provide a background, Zambia has ratified the African Charter and its supplement instrument – the Maputo Protocol. By virtue of its ratification of these instruments, the Zambian government has an obligation under Article 62 of the African Charter and Article 26(1) of the Maputo Protocol to submit a report every two years to the African Commission. This report should be made up of two parts; Part A on the African Charter and Part B on the Maputo Protocol. Ideally, it is a report of the people and should provide a comprehensive account of the human rights situation of all Zambians (Part A) and specifically the rights of women (Part B). 
 
In pursuant of this reporting obligation therefore, Zambia is one of the two African countries where the Centre is working to provide technical expertise; and assist states in fulfilling their reporting obligations to the African Commission. The main objective of the second follow up drafting workshop was therefore: to build the capacity of stakeholders on the rudiments of the African Charter (Part A section) and to assist stakeholders with report drafting skills in their efforts to produce a report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights.  
 
The workshop was participatory and interactive; presentations at the workshop covered a wide range of topics dealing specifically with state reporting on the African Charter, nuts and bolts of drafting a report to the African Commission amongst other sessions. One of the highlights of the workshop was seeing participants work in different thematic groups to begin the process of drafting Part A (The African Charter section) of the report. It was interesting to see participants engage with the specific issues in Zambia. 
 
The Civil and Political Rights thematic group members, for instance discussed the recent state of emergency in the country and the question of whether/how this issue should be captured in the report. On their part, participants in the Economic Social Cultural Rights group discussed and highlighted the tensions and conflicts that exist in guaranteeing these set of rights for Zambians when the justiciability of these rights in the country are still in question and how this conflict should be captured in the report. 
 
It is hoped that feedback from this group drafting exercise would form a significant chunk of the first zero draft for the African Charter section. One major outcome from the drafting meeting is participants’ expressed commitment and willingness to continue the drafting process amidst challenges. This would ensure that Zambia is able to meet its reporting obligations to the African Commission. 
 
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