Zambian President Edgar Lungu yesterday warned that the use of hate speech on social media was violating the human rights of citizens with impunity.
Lungu, in remarks delivered during the commemoration of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Day said his government will not allow the continued abuse of freedom of expression on social media through propagation of hate speech.
“I am particularly concerned at the prevalence of hate speech being peddled on a myriad of social media, which violates the rights and freedoms of others with impunity. In this regard, I am calling for self-restraint in exercising freedom of speech and expression,” he said.
“This is in order to respect and protect the rights and freedoms of others. Let us use the conducive legal and political environment for freedom of expression to advance our civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights,” he added.
The Zambian leader said as the country celebrates the 50th anniversary of the existence of the International Bill of Rights, citizens should not be oblivious to the emerging culture of hate speech on social media.
He further reaffirmed his government’s commitment to respecting fundamental human rights and freedoms as enshrined in the country’s constitution and in the International Bill of Rights.
He called on citizens to continue being tolerant, peaceful and embrace humanity in diversity, adding that every human being is born free and equal in dignity and right.
Florence Chibwesha, the director of the country’s Human Rights Commission while commending the strides Zambia has recorded in promoting human rights said more still needed to be done.
UN Governance Advisor Michael Soko reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to continue protecting the rights of all people regardless of race, religion of religious background.
The theme for this year’s commemoration is “Our Rights, Our Freedoms, Always”.