Landlocked and with no history of major political unrest or violence, Zambia is rarely featured in the mainstream media. As a result, much of the human rights activism and challenges encountered by civil society actors go largely unreported. A number of advocacy groups that were vocal on issues of human rights in the late 1990's have collapsed after their leaders were co-opted into partisan politics and donor funds dwindled.
For the new generation of Zambian HRDs, the risk of being co-opted or intimidated into silence is still high. This is partly due to the ever-changing political dynamics that creates an environment where politicians are in a constant search for allies. There is also the apparent indifference of the international community once HRDs are threatened. Despite the appearance of a non-hostile environment against HRDs, harassment and threats against them are rampant but very subtle. HRDs facing most harassment are those engaged in governance-related advocacy, as well as journalists who venture into investigative journalism.
HRDs working on LGBTI issues work mostly underground and are in constant fear of being targeted. There is also a set of bad laws interefering with the work of HRDs, chief among these being the Public Order Management Act, the Media Law and the NGO law.