Zambian Watchdog

Zambian Court to determine whether congestion and lack of food contravenes rights of prisoners with HIV

December 01
06:20 2012

Lusaka central prison

Just two days after World AIDS Day, the Zambia High Court will hear and determine whether pathetic, inhuman prison conditions and lack of food in Zambia prisons violet human rights for people living with HIV.

The arguments will be heard on Monday, December 3, 2012 in Mwanza and Another v Attorney General.

The case was taken to court by two HIV-positive individuals, who allege that poor prison conditions and the lack of adequate food provided to HIV-positive prisoners on treatment in the Lusaka Central Prison (Chimbokaila) violated their human rights.

The two are being represented by Legal Resources Chambers (LRC).

“Prisoners are already in an extremely vulnerable position due to their incarceration but the situation is far more serious for HIV-positive prisoners on treatment since a lack of food and poor conditions can mean the difference between life and death.” said Priti Patel, Deputy Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), which along with the Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign (TALC) has been following the case.

“It is essential that the High Court recognises the vulnerability of HIV-positive prisoners and insists that government provides all prisoners with adequate food and guarantees proper prison conditions,” said Moses Mazyopa, Acting Treatment Literacy Officer at TALC.

The case has been brought by two HIV-positive individuals regarding the treatment they allegedly experienced while incarcerated in the Lusaka Central Prison.

Both men allege that they are on HIV treatment and are arguing that the lack of adequate food, abysmal prison conditions and barriers to accessing HIV treatment all violated their right to life and freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment under the Zambian Constitution.

The government has denied their allegations.

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