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Human Rights Commission gears up for outreach and advocacy activities

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has started a new collaboration with the Human Rights Commission (HRC), following the signing of the Governance Programme 2012-2015 with the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) on 31st July 2012.  Building upon UNDP’s support to HRC in previous years, the collaboration entered into a new stage, where the HRC is enhancing its work around ensuring the implementation of the human-rights-related commitment that the government made in the international fora.  


To kick off, the HRC is meeting in a 5-day intensive workshop to discuss their communication strategy, re-examine their stakeholders, and develop human rights materials.  These materials will be used in the various advocacy and training activities that will follow toward the end of the year 2012 and in 2013.  In Chaminuka Lodge, 52 km off Lusaka, staff members from Information, Education and Training department, Investigations and Legal Services department, Research, Advocacy and Planning department and the Office of Commissioner for Children’s Rights gathered to identify the ways in which Human Rights Commission can make human rights provisions more accessible and comprehensible to wider public.  


Mr. Kasankha, head of the Information, Education and Training department says: “One of our major tasks is advocacy in human rights.  To do this effectively, we need to have a good understanding of the audience.  Also, we need have a comprehensive and objective understanding of our strengths and weaknesses as an organisation so we can effectively communicate with the various stakeholders ranging from the government, parliament to general public.”  


During this workshop, the HRC staff members identified several areas where HRC intend to enhance its advocacy work.  “We are preparing materials for both the people whose rights should be protected and for people and institutions who should protect such rights.  Our advocacy work will be around major human rights instruments such as Civil and Political Rights and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and also for vulnerable groups such as children, women, people with disabilities and people with HIV/AIDS.  We are also preparing for advocacy materials for the people in detention and law enforcement officers.” says Mrs. Chanda, the head of the Research, Advocacy and Planning department.  


She continues: “It is critically important for people to understand what their rights are and who should protect their rights, so they can voice when their right is infringed.  At the same time, those who should protect human rights should also have a clear understanding of what their duties are.  It is HRC’s mandate to ensure such information is readily available and accessible.  For HRC, it is very important to find the new and innovative ways to get across these human rights related messages and information.”  


Under new collaboration between HRC and UNDP, UNDP will be supporting the series of advocacy and communication activities of HRC based on this workshop. 


UNDP Zambia

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