|Clifford Dimba (left) is seen singing in a video recorded while he was in prison serving an 18-year sentence for raping a 14-year-old girl. The singer has since been pardoned and appointed Zambia's ambassador in the fight against violence towards women, sparking outrage from human rights groups|
Zambia has provoked uproar after pardoning a singer convicted of rape – then appointing him ambassador against violence towards women. Clifford Dimba, known as General Kanene, was sentenced to 18 years in prison last year for attacking a 14-year-old girl.
But he was pardoned by President Edgar Lungu after serving just one year of his sentence. He has now been trusted with the highly sensitive position of tackling gender-based attacks despite reportedly being involved in two incidents of violence against women since being released.
The decision to appoint him ambassador has provoked outrage from the United Nations Council of Human Rights which called for Dimba to be stripped of his title.
Dubravka Šimonović, UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, said: 'Such an outrageous release and appointment as an ambassador for the fight against gender-based violence not only traumatises the victim all over again but discourages other victims from reporting similar offences.
|Dimba was pardoned by President Edgar Lungu (pictured) after serving just one year of his sentence|
'The pardon and appointment undermine the strong message against sexual abuse of women and girls that was sent with the original sentence and trivialise the serious nature of these offences. 'Rather, Clifford Dimba has been placed in a prominent position and even portrayed as a role model to fight violence against women.'
The UN body highlighted that the granting of the pardon was incompatible with Zambia’s international human rights obligations and the President's role as a champion in the UN Women's campaign, He for She.
Reports that Dimba had been involved in to other alleged attacks against women 'clearly shows that impunity for these offences generates more violence and harm', added Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, the UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
Zambia was also urged to adopt protection and prevention measures, including education campaigns targeted at both men and women.
- Daily Mail