UP Zambia’s response to COVID-19
Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, a lot has changed and affected the way our numerous UP Zambia teams go about doing their work. As an organization, we are practising social distancing by only having a limited number of staff at our office at any given moment. And whenever possible, staff are encouraged to work from home.
As a human rights organization, the safety and wellbeing of our clients is our utmost priority. In compliance with national and the correctional facilities safety measures we have to pause the daily operations of our legal help desks inside Lusaka Remand and Lusaka Central Correctional facilities.
Through our access to the correctional facilities is limited, we are able to still access the courts, some of which are continuing to hear criminal cases. We are continuing to offer our legal services to our clients in the following ways:
- We are continuing to provide legal representation and other forms of legal assistance at court while taking the necessary safety precautions put in place by the Judiciary
- We continue to make case follow-ups for clients
- Our teams also continue to be in contact with the families of juvenile clients, encouraging them to present at court
- We continue to advocate with the Judiciary to allow juveniles and accused persons to be released on bail during the COVID-19 outbreak to reduce detention and overcrowding in the prisons, where it is impossible to follow standard safety measures such as social distancing.
Through the support of the community UP Zambia has been able to donate over 200 cloth masks to magistrates and court staff as well as providing masks to juveniles, parents, and witnesses attending court sessions.
Due to the current restrictions in place, no family or friends are being allowed to contact inmates to limit exposure to COVID-19. The teens inside usually depend on their families to supply them with the things they need. Because of this, UP Zambia is standing in the gap by adjusting our social support efforts and working with well-wishers to provide them with cloth masks, soap, toilet tissue, fresh vegetables, and other necessities.
UP Zambia has always stayed focus on its mission to support juveniles in conflict with the law through many challenging times: this is no different. We rely greatly on our community of donors, advocates and well-wishers. Thank you for your continued support.