Zambia: UN Experts Denounce Presidential Pardon of Convicted Rapis

Two UN experts on the human rights of women and children have expressed alarm over the presidential pardon of a man sentenced to eighteen years in prison for the rape of a fourteen-year old girl in Zambia. After granting the pardon, the Zambian president appointed the convicted rapist, Clifford Dimba, as an ambassador against gender based violence. The UN experts, Special Rapporteurs Dubravka Simonovic and Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, called on the Zambian government to rescind Dimba’s pardon and appointment as ambassador. They said the president’s actions are not consistent with Zambia’s international human rights obligations and “undermine the strong message against sexual abuse of women and girls that was sent with the original sentence . . . .” The experts expressed their deep concern that the move has re-traumatized the young rape victim and will discourage other victims from reporting sexual abuse and other forms of gender based violence in Zambia.