The Human Rights Council - 53rd Session
Outcome of the Universal Periodic Review- Zambia
Thank you President,
Action Canada makes this statement on behalf of the Alliance for Accountability Advocates Zambia (AAAZ).
We welcome Zambia’s acceptance of recommendations on adequately financing its HIV/AIDS response, and on meeting the 15 percent threshold for spending on public health, set by the Abuja Declaration. Although progress has been made in Zambia’s HIV/AIDS response including a general drop in new infections, there has been an increase in new infections amongst youth and adolescents. Zambia needs to increase the roll out of youth-friendly health services, clarify the policy position on the age of consent to health services, and it needs to ensure that young people and adolescents have access to HIV testing, treatment and care.
We welcome Zambia’s acceptance of recommendations on the right to education - including comprehensive sexuality education. To effectively address the current teacher-pupil ratio, Zambia needs to invest in training and adequately remunerating more teachers, and in equipping teachers and schools, regardless of their geographic location. We call on Zambia to allocate adequate resources for education, for teachers’ recruitment and retention, and for teachers’ continuous capacity building on how to effectively teach the comprehensive sexuality education curriculum to pupils.
Further, Zambia needs to also address the ongoing discrimination against adolescent parents and to ensure that schools are equipped to provide these young parents with adequate child care whilst they undertake their studies, and otherwise participate in the life of the school.
Finally, we regret that Zambia noted recommendations on decriminalising abortion in the country, as the rate of unsafe abortion remains high, especially among youth and adolescents. Zambia must ensure that abortion is fully decriminalised in the country, and that safe abortion services are of good quality, accessible, affordable, and widely available - even through the public health system, and even in the rural areas.