IBAHRI raises awareness of the rule of law and human rights among young lawyers in Zambia

Wednesday 2 October 2019

The International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) and the University of Lusaka hosted an all-day seminar on 20 September 2019 for young lawyers in Zambia on the rule of law and human rights. The aim of the event was to raise awareness about human rights principles and their importance, and to encourage the young professionals in attendance to participate in actively promoting human rights, regardless of legal discipline.

Left to right: Aurora Garcia (IBAHRI Programme Administrator), Muluka Miti-Drummond (IBAHRI Deputy Director), Dr. Chipasha Mulenga (Dean of the School of Law, University of Lusaka), Hon. Given Lubinda (Minister of Justice), Karen Chipita and Bwembya Ng’omalala (prize winners).

Guest of honour at the seminar was Zambia’s Minister of Justice, the Hon Given Lubinda, who discussed the importance of protecting human rights and strengthening the rule of law. The Minister also announced the winners of the IBAHRI Zambia Law Essay Competition 2019 and presented prizes to the winners, Karen Chipita and Bwembya Ng’omalala. Awardee Bwembya Ng’omalala acknowledged his prize by saying: ‘When writing this essay and prior to this seminar, I did not want to work on human rights. After listening to the speakers today, I have changed my mind.

IBAHRI Co-Chair, the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, stated: ‘There is a need to dispel the myth that human rights work is only for a particular category of legal professionals known as human rights lawyers. As members of the legal profession, we all have a duty to protect and promote human rights. This seminar and the ongoing work of the IBAHRI with law students and young lawyers in Zambia and other parts of the world will go a long way towards inspiring a new generation of legal professionals who are passionate about the rule of law and human rights. As a judge, I often found that skilled commercial lawyers were more effective in human rights cases. The great decision in the Mabo case concerning the rights of Indigenous land rights was won by a gifted tax law specialist.

Prominent Zambian legal professionals who advocate human rights spoke at the seminar, including the Hon Mr Justice Chalwe Mchenga, SC, Deputy Judge President, Court of Appeal; the Hon Dr Justice Mumba Malila, SC, Judge of the Supreme Court of Zambia and former Commissioner and Vice Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights; Ms Florence Chibwesha, Executive Director of the Human Rights Commission; Ms Linda Kasonde, Founder and Executive Director of Chapter One Foundation and Co-Vice Chair of the IBA African Regional Forum, Professor Muna B Ndulo, Professor of Law, Cornell Law School and Director of the Leo and Arvilla Berger International Legal Studies Program; and Ms Muleya Mwananyanda, Deputy Regional Director of Amnesty International’s Regional Office for Southern Africa. During the seminar, the Hon Dr Justice Mumba Malila spoke passionately of the need to abolish the death penalty in Zambia.

IBAHRI Co-Chair, Anne Ramberg Dr jur hc, stated: ‘Although it has not been carried out in Zambia since 1997, the death penalty, including the mandatory death penalty, continues to exist in Zambia’s law. The IBAHRI encourages the authorities to bring the laws up to date with current practice and the international trend towards the abolition of the death penalty by completely abolishing it and removing it from Zambia’s laws.


Notes to the Editor

  1. Click here for IBAHRI news releases relating to Zambia.
  2. Click here for more information on IBAHRI advocacy work on the abolition of the death penalty.
  3. The International Bar Association (IBA) – the global voice of the legal profession – is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Established in 1947, shortly after the creation of the United Nations, it was born out of the conviction that an organisation made up of the world's bar associations could contribute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice.

    In the ensuing 70 years since its creation, the organisation has evolved from an association comprised exclusively of bar associations and law societies to one that incorporates individual international lawyers and entire law firms. The present membership is comprised of more than 80,000 individual international lawyers from most of the world’s leading law firms and some 190 bar associations and law societies spanning more than 170 countries.

    The IBA has considerable expertise in providing assistance to the global legal community, and through its global membership, it influences the development of international law reform and helps to shape the future of the legal profession throughout the world.

    The IBA’s administrative office is in London, United Kingdom. Regional offices are located in: São Paulo, Brazil; Seoul, South Korea; and Washington DC, United States, while the International Bar Association’s International Criminal Court and International Criminal Law Programme (ICC & ICL) is managed from an office in The Hague, the Netherlands.

    The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), an autonomous and financially independent entity, works to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.

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