Zambians are living in fear as police brutality increases and the southern African country approaches dictatorship, Zambia's Catholic bishops said.
Lusaka's Catholic archbishop said African nations should do more to protect girls from oppression and harassment.
Laws need to be put in place to ensure that African girls are safeguarded from useless, abusive and oppressive traditional practices, Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu said in late May at a Mass for the Little Servants of Mary Immaculate.
"As a church, we want to see the African girl child well-protected and respected right from the word go" the archbishop said.
Zambian Catholic bishops urged the government to stop using state security institutions to intimidate people and warned that changes in tax legislation could lead to severe cutbacks in services that the church offers the poor.
Zambia's political environment "is characterized by manipulation, patronage and intimidation of perceived government opponents," the bishops said in a statement issued at a Jan. 23 news conference at their Lusaka headquarters.