Legal framework

This section lists Guatemala's protected characteristics.

Guatemala 1985 (Rev 1993)

Article 4 In Guatemala all human beings are free and equal in dignity and rights. The man and the woman, whatever their civil status may be, have equal opportunities and responsibilities. No person can be subject to servitude or to another condition that diminishes his or her dignity. The human beings must exercise brotherly behavior among them. Article 5 All persons may not be persecuted or harassed for their opinions or for acts that do not imply an infraction of it. Article 6 No person may be arrested or detained, except for cause of [a] crime or [b] offense and by virtue of an order issued in accordance to the law [and] by a competent judicial authority. The cases of flagrant crime or offense are excepted. The detained [person] will be placed at the provision of the competent judicial authority within a time limit not exceeding six hours and may not be subject to any other authority. Article 7 Any person [who is] detained must be notified immediately, in a verbal or written form, of the cause that motivated his [or her] detention, [the] authority which ordered it and the place where he [or she] will remain. The same notification must be made through the most rapid means to the person designated by the detained [person] and the authority will be responsible for the effectiveness of the notification. Article 8 All detained [persons] must be informed immediately of their rights in a form that will be understandable, especially [of the right] to use a defender who may be present at all police and judicial diligences. The detained [person] cannot be obligated to testify except before a competent judicial authority. Article 9 The judicial authorities are the only ones competent to interrogate those [who are] detained or imprisoned. This diligence must be practiced within a time that does not exceed twenty-four hours. Extrajudicial questioning lacks any probatory value. Article 10 The persons apprehended by the authority may not be taken to places of detention, arrest, or imprisonment different from those which are legally and publicly designated to that effect. The provisional centres of detention, arrest, or imprisonment shall be different from those where the sentences are to be fulfilled. Article 11 The persons whose identities can be established by means of documents, [through] the testimony of witnesses of substance or by [its] own authority, may not remain detained for faults or infractions. Article 12 The defence of the person and his [or her] rights are inviolable. No one may be sentenced or deprived from his [or her] rights, without being summoned, heard and defeated in a legal process before a competent and pre-established judge and tribunal. No person may be tried by Special or Secret Tribunals, nor through proceedings that are not pre-established legally. Article 13 An order of imprisonment may not be dictated, without previous information of a crime having been committed and without the concurrence [of] sufficient rational motives to believe that the detained person has committed it or [has] participated in it. Article 14 Any person is innocent, while not being judicially declared responsible, in a duly executory sentence. The detained, the offended, the Public Ministry and the attorneys who have been designated by the interested [persons], in a verbal or written form, have the right to take cognizance of, personally, all the actions, documents, and penal diligences without any reservation and in an immediate form. Article 15 The law does not have retroactive effect, except in penal matters when it favours the defendant. Article 16 In a penal process, no person can be obligated to testify against oneself, against his [or her] spouse or person of legal union, or against relatives within the levels] of law. Article 17. The actions or omissions that are not qualified as crimes or faults and that [are] punishable by a law [that is] prior to their perpetration are not punishable. There is no prison for debt. Article 18 The death penalty may not be imposed in the following cases: With basis on presumptions; On women; On those older than sixty years of age; On those convicted of political and common crimes connected with political [ones];On [those] convicted and whose extradition has been granted under such condition. Against a sentence that imposes the death penalty, all of the pertinent legal recourses will be admissible; this [recourse] will always be admitted for its processing. The penalty will be executed after all of the recourses are exhausted The Congress of the Republic can abolish the death penalty. Article 19 The penitentiary system must tend to the social rehabilitation and re-education of the prisoners and to comply, in their treatment, with [observance to] the following minimum norms: They must be treated as human beings; they must not be discriminated against for any reason whatsoever, or be infringed with cruel treatment, physical, moral, [or] psychic tortures, duress or harassments, labour incompatible with their physical state, actions that denigrate their dignity, or make them victims of exactions, or be submitted to scientific experiment; They must fulfil the penalties in the places designated to such effect. The penal centres are of civil character and with specialized personnel; They have the right to communicate, when they so request, with their families, defence attorney, religious assistant or physician and in its case, with the diplomatic or consular representative of their own nationality. Article 20 The minors of age who violate the law are not imputable. Their treatment must be directed towards an integral education [that is] proper for childhood and adolescence. The minors, whose conduct violates a penal law, will be assisted by specialized institutions and personnel. For no reason can they be incarcerated in penal centres or [centres] of detention [that are] intended for adults. A specific law will regulate this matter. Article 23 The home is inviolable. No one may penetrate the dwelling of someone else without the permission of the resident who inhabits it, except by the written order of a competent judge in which the reason for the diligence is specified and never before six or after eighteen hours. Such diligence will always be carried out in the presence of the interested party, or his [or her] representative. Article 24 The correspondence of any person, his [or her] documents, and books are inviolable. They may only be inspected or seized, by virtue of a firm resolution dictated by a competent judge and with the legal formalities. The secrecy of correspondence and telephone, radio, and cablegram communications and of other products of the modern technology is guaranteed. Article 26 Any person has [the] freedom to enter, remain, transit, and exit from the national territory and change domiciles or residences, without other limitations than those established by the law. No Guatemalan may be exiled or forbidden from entering the national territory or be denied a passport or other identification documents. Article 27 Guatemala recognizes the right of asylum and grants it in accordance with the international practices. The extradition is regulated by that provided in the international treaties. The extradition of Guatemalans will not be initiated for political crimes, and they will not be handed over to a foreign government, except for what is established in [the] treaties and conventions regarding crimes against humanity or against the international law. The expulsion from the national territory of a political refugee will not be accorded, with destination to the country that seeks him [or her]. Article 33 The right of peaceful assembly and without weapons is recognized. The rights of assembly and of public demonstration may not be restricted, diminished, or restrained; and the law shall regulate them with the sole purpose of guaranteeing the public order. The religious manifestations outside of temples are permitted and are regulated by the law. Article 34 The right of free association is recognized. Article 35 The expression of thought through any means of dissemination, without censorship or prior permission, is free. This constitutional right may not be restrained by [the] law or by any governmental provision. [The person] who by using the freedom should fail to respect private life or morals, will be held responsible in accordance with the law. Whoever may feel offended has the right of publication of his [or her] defence, clarifications, and rectifications. Article 36 The exercise of all the religions is free. Any person has the right to practice his [or her] religion or belief, in public and in private, through teaching, cult and observance, without other limits than the public order and the due respect for the dignity of the hierarchy and the faithful [followers] of [the] other beliefs . Article 36 The juridical personality of the Catholic Church is recognized. The other churches, cults, entities, and associations of religious character will obtain the recognition of their juridical personality in accordance with the rules of their institution [,] and the Government may not deny, aside from reasons of public order. Article 38 The right to own weapons for personal use, not prohibited by the law, in the place of inhabitation, is recognized. There will not be an obligation to hand them over, except in cases ordered by a competent judge. Article 39 Private property is guaranteed as a right inherent to the human person. Any person can freely dispose of his [or her] property in accordance with the law. Article 43 The freedom of industry, trade, and work is recognized, except for the limitations that due to social motives or the national interest are imposed by the law. Article 46 The general principle that within matters of human rights, the treaties and agreements approved and ratified by Guatemala, have pre-eminence over the internal law is established. Article 47 The State guarantees the social, economic, and juridical protection of the family. It will promote its organization on the legal basis of marriage, the equal rights of the spouses, responsible paternity and the right of the persons to decide freely the number and the spacing of their children. Article 48 The State recognizes de facto unions and the law will regulate everything relative to it. Article 49 The [state of] matrimony may be authorized by the mayors [council members, notaries in exercise [of their function] and [by] religious ministers authorized by the corresponding administrative authority. Article 50 All of the children are equal before the law and they have the same rights. Any discrimination is punishable. Article 51 The State will protect the physical, mental, and moral health of the minors of age and of the elderly. It will guarantee to them their right to food, health, education, and security and social provision. Article 52 The [state of] maternity has the protection of the State, which in special form will see to the strict compliance of the rights and obligations that derive from it. Article 53 The State guarantees the protection of the disabled and of those persons who suffer from physical, psychic, or sensory limitations. Their medical-social care, as well as the promotion of the policies and the services that make their rehabilitation and their integral reincorporation into society possible, are declared to be of national interest. The law will regulate this matter and will create the technical and executory organs that are necessary. Article 54 The State recognizes and protects adoption. The adopted [person] acquires the status of child of the adopter. The protection of orphaned children and of abandoned children is declared of national interest. Article 54 The actions against alcoholism, drug addiction, and other causes of family disintegration [,] are declared to be of social interest. The State must take the adequate measures of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation to make said actions effective, for the well-being of the individual, the family, and the society. Article 58 The right of the persons and of the communities to their cultural identity in accordance to their values, their language, and their customs is recognized. Articles 59 – 65 protection for all cultural heritage, identity, traditional folklore, art and handicrafts and natural heritage and to promote and protect legacy. Article 66 Guatemala is formed by diverse ethnic groups among which are found the indigenous groups of Mayan descent. The State recognizes, respects, and promotes their forms of life, customs, traditions, forms of social organization, the use of the indigenous attire by men and women, [and their] languages and dialects.  Article 67 The lands of the cooperatives, indigenous communities or any other forms of communal or collective possession of agrarian ownership, as well as the family patrimony and the people's housing, will enjoy special protection of the State, [and] of preferential credit and technical assistance, which may guarantee their possession and development, in order to assure an improved quality of life to all of the inhabitants. The indigenous communities and others that hold lands that historically belong to them and which they have traditionally administered in special form, will maintain that system.  Article 68 Through special programs and adequate legislation, the State will provide state lands to the indigenous communities who may need them for their development. Article 69 The labour activities that involve the transfer of workers outside of their communities, will be the object of protection and legislation to assure adequate conditions of health, security, and social prevision that prevent the payment of wages [that are] not adjusted to the law, the disintegration of those communities and in general all of discriminatory treatment. Article 71The freedom of education and educational criteria is guaranteed. It is the obligation of the State to provide and facilitate education to its inhabitants without any discrimination whatsoever. The foundation and maintenance of cultural educational centres and museums is declared to be of public utility and necessity. Article 72 Education has as its primary objective the integral development of the human person, the knowledge of reality and national and universal culture. Education, instruction, social development and the systematic teaching of the Constitution of the Republic and of the human rights are declared to be of national interest. Article 73 The family is the source of the education and the parents are entitled to choose what is to be taught to their minor children. The State may subsidize the gratuitous private educational centres and the law will regulate what is relative to this matter. The private educational centres shall function under the inspection of the State. They are obligated to fulfil [least, [the] official study plans and programs. As cultural centres they will be enjoy the exemption of all types of taxes and assessments. Religious education is optional in the official establishments and can be taught during ordinary hours, without any discrimination. The State will contribute to the maintenance of religious education without any discrimination. Article 74 The inhabitants have the right and the obligation to receive initial, pre-primary, primary and basic education, within the age limits established by the law. The education provided by the State is gratuitous. The State will provide and promote scholarships and educational credits. Scientific, technological, and humanistic education constitute objectives that the State must guide and develop permanently. The State shall promote special education, diversified [education] and extracurricular education. Article 75 Literacy is declared [to be] of national urgency and it is a social obligation to contribute to it. The State will organize it and promote it with all the necessary resources. Article 76 The administration of the educational system must be decentralized and regionalized. In the schools established in regions with a predominantly indigenous population, the education must be provided preferentially in [a] bilingual form. Article 77 The owners of the industrial, agricultural, livestock, and commercial businesses are obligated to establish and maintain, in accordance with the law, [the] schools, day care centres, and cultural centres for their workers and school population. Article 81-89 covers administration, freedoms and governing rules of tertiary education (Universities). Article 93 The enjoyment of health is a fundamental right of the human being, without any discrimination. The communities have the right and the duty to actively participate in the planning, execution, and evaluation of [the] health programs. Article 100 The State recognizes and guarantees the right to social security for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Nation. Article 101 To work is a right and a social obligation of the person. The labour regime of the country must be organized in accordance with the principles of social justice. Article 102 The minimum social rights that form the basis of the labour legislation and the activity of the tribunals and [the] authorities [are]: The right to the free choice of work and the satisfactory economic conditions that guarantee a dignified existence for the worker and his [or her] family; that all work be equitably remunerated, except with what the law determines in that regard; the equality of salary for the same rendered work in equality of conditions, productivity, and seniority; the periodic establishment of the minimum salary in accordance with the law; the ordinary effective workday can neither exceed eight hours of work per day, nor forty-four hours per week, equivalent to forty-eight hours for the exclusive purpose of the payment of the salary; the right of the worker to a day of remunerated rest for each ordinary work week or for any six consecutive workdays. The holidays recognized by the law will also be remunerated; the right of the worker to fifteen working days of paid vacation after each year of continuous service, with the exception of agricultural enterprise workers, who will have the right to ten working days [of vacation]. The vacations must be effective and the employer may not compensate such right in a different manner, except when the labour relationship already acquired would cease; the obligation of the employer to grant[,] every year[,] a bonus of no less than one hundred percent of the monthly salary, or the one already established if greater, to those workers who may have worked for an uninterrupted year prior to the date of the payment. The law will regulate the form of payment. For those workers with less than one year of service, such bonus will be covered proportionally to the time [of duration] of [the] work; the protection of the working woman and [the] regulation of the conditions under which she must render her services. There may not be differences established between married and single women in terms of [the] work. The law will regulate the protection of the maternity rights of the working woman, who may not be required to [conduct any] work that may require an effort that puts her pregnancy in jeopardy The working mother will enjoy a compulsory rest [period] paid on the basis of one hundred percent of her salary, during the thirty days prior to giving birth and [during] the subsequent forty-five days. During the period of lactation, she will have the right to two periods of extraordinary rest, during her workday. The prenatal and postnatal rest periods will be expanded according to her physical conditions, by medical prescription. Minors under fourteen years of age may not be employed in any type of work, except for the exceptions established by the law. It is forbidden to employ minors in works that are incompatible with their physical capacity or that endanger their moral formation. The workers older than sixty years of age will be the object of a treatment [that is] adequate to their age. The protection and [the] promotion of the work of the blind, the disabled and the persons with physical, psychic, or nervous deficiencies. The preference of Guatemalan workers over foreigners in equality of conditions and in the percentages determined by the law. In comparable circumstances, no Guatemalan worker may earn a lesser salary than a foreigner, be subject to inferior conditions of employment, or obtain lesser economic advantages or other benefits. The establishment of the norms of obligatory compliance for employers and workers in the individual and collective labour contracts. The employers and [the] employees will procure the economic development of their enterprise for [their] common benefit; the obligation of the employer to indemnify with the salary of one month for each year of continuous service when unjustifiably or indirectly dismissing a worker, as long as the law does not establish another more appropriate system that would provide the worker with better provisions. It is the obligation of the employer to provide to the spouse or partner, the minor children or the disabled [relatives] of a worker who may die while in service, a benefit equivalent to the salary of one month for each year worked. This benefit will be covered by monthly payments and its amount will not be less than the final salary received by the worker. The right to the free unionization of the workers. This right can be exercised without any discrimination and without being subject to any previous authorization, having only to fulfil the requirements established by the law. The workers may not be dismissed for participating in the establishment of a [labour] union, [and] must be abler to enjoy such a right from the time that they notify the General Inspectorate of Labour. Only the Guatemalans by birth can intervene in the organization, direction and advising of [labour] unions. The establishment of economic institutions and of social prevision which, in benefit of the workers, grant benefits of all types, especially for disability, retirement, and survival. If the employer should not be able to prove a reasonable cause for the dismissal, he [or she] must pay the salary of one month to the worker to compensate for damages and losses if the case should be settled in a court of first instance, two monthly salaries if the sentence is appealed, and[,] if the legal process should last longer than two months, [the employer] must pay fifty percent of the salary of the worker for each month beyond that deadline, up to a maximum of six months in this case. The State will participate in international or regional agreements and treaties relating to labour matters and which grant better protection of conditions to [the] workers. In such cases, what is established in said agreements and treaties will be considered as part of the minimum rights enjoyed by the workers of the Republic of Guatemala. Article 103 The laws that regulate the relations between employers and workers are conciliatory, protective of the workers and [they] will attend to all the pertinent economic and social factors. For agricultural work [,] the law will especially take into account their needs and the zones in which it is executed. Article 104 The right to strike and to work stoppage exercised in accordance with the law, after all conciliation procedures have been exhausted, is recognized. These rights can be exercised solely for reasons of economic-social order. The laws shall establish the cases and situations where the strike and work stoppage will not be allowed. Article 105 The State, through the specific entities, will support the planning and construction of housing complexes [conjuntos], establishing the adequate systems for financing, which would make it possible to involve the different programs, so that the workers may opt for adequate housing and meet [the] health requirements. The owners of enterprises are obligated to provide to their workers, in the cases established by the law, [the] housing units that meet the aforementioned requirements. Article 106 The rights consigned in this section are irrenounceable for the workers, susceptible of being exceeded through individual or collective contracting, and in the form established by the law. For this objective the State will encourage and protect collective negotiation. The stipulations that call for the renunciation, reduction, distortion or limitation of the rights recognized for the workers in the Constitution, in the law, in the international treaties ratified by Guatemala, in the regulations or in [any] other provisions with regards to work, will be void ipso jure and will not obligate the workers, even if they are expressed in a collective or individual labour contract, in an agreement or in another document. In case of doubt in the interpretation or scope of [the] legal provisions, regulations, or contractual [provisions] within the labour matters, they will be interpreted in the most favourable sense for the workers. Articles 107- 116 Cover Employment Regulations for government employees. Article 117 The economic and social regime of the Republic of Guatemala is based on the principles of social justice. Article 144 – 147 cover nationality and citizenship rights

Global Abortions Policies Database - Guatemala 2019


Abortion in Guatemala is illegal, except when needed to save the woman's life. Abortion was illegal without exception prior to 1973. Congressional Decree 17-73 altered the penal code to allow abortion in cases in which the pregnant woman's life is endangered. The procedure must be done by a physician and approved by a second doctor. Article 3 of Chapter I in Title II of the Constitution of Guatemala grants the right to life from the point of conception. This article states that the government "guarantee and protects human life since its conception, as same as the integrity and security of the person." Thus, abortion in Guatemala is completely illegal with very few exceptions, if a pregnancy is life-threatening. Women and girls who have abortions face prison terms as long as three years. Medical professionals who perform abortions face sentences of one to six years or a fine of five hundred to three thousand quetzals, with disqualification of exercising his or her profession for two to five years.  The abortion ban forces women and girls facing unwanted pregnancies to have clandestine abortions, risking their health and lives.


Article 54 The State recognizes and protects adoption. The adopted [person] acquires the status of child of the adopter. The protection of orphaned children and of abandoned children is declared of national interest. International Adoption was halted in 2008 after Guatemala signed up to the Hague Convention in 2007.

Latin American Herald Tribune Report 2020

Article 51 The State will protect the physical, mental, and moral health of the elderly. It will guarantee to them their right to food, health, education, and security and social provision. Article 101 The workers older than sixty years of age will be the object of a treatment [that is] adequate to their age.

In Guatemala, the Constitution refers to protection for the elderly only in terms of granting older workers "age-appropriate" working conditions. Retirement programs now begin at age 60, whereas in the past the age limit was set at 65 years. Forty percent of Guatemala’s estimated 900,000 residents over the age of 60 are living in a state of poverty according to a Guatemalan Ombudsmen statement. The office said in a communique on the occasion of Sunday’s first National Older Adult Day (2019) that citizens over 60 suffer greatly from “conditions of inequality, poverty, exclusion, violence and discrimination.” Exclusion from the labour market and the absence of state assistance programs for the elderly are the main contributors to their poverty, the statement which also noted the impact of a crime wave that has pushed Guatemala’s murder rate to an average of 17 a day. The amount of violence affecting older adults also showed up in a report that 37 out of every 100 complaints received by the ombudsman’s office from this sector of the population speak of mistreatment, threats, and physical and psychological violence.

The Age of Consent in Guatemala is 18 years old. The age of consent is the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity. Individuals aged 17 or younger in Guatemala are not legally able to consent to sexual activity, and such activity may result in prosecution for statutory rape or the equivalent local law. Guatemala statutory rape law is violated when an individual has consensual sexual intercourse with a person under age 18, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Punishment varies depending on age.

Men having sex with men are not allowed to donate blood.


The Employment Code Act, No 3 of 2019, states a female employee who is nursing a newly born baby is entitled to two nursing breaks of thirty minutes each or one nursing break of one hour in a day, provided that the nursing breaks are for a maximum period of six months from the birth of the child. These breaks should not be deducted from her normal working hours, furthermore, the employee is still entitled to a lunch break.

Civil partnerships/Civil Union registered inside or outside of Zambia are not recognised by the Zambian constitution, therefore there is no grounds for protection against discrimination.


Conversion therapy is not banned in Zambia

There are no anti-discrimination laws in employment, in the provision of goods and services and indirect discrimination and hate speech against LGBT people.

The employment code act 2019, specifically mentions disability as a protected characteristic and therefore grounds for protection from discrimination.

In Zambia, there is no specific law against domestic violence or spousal abuse. The results of a Demographic Health Survey in 2007, showed that almost half of all women had experienced physical violence since they were 15. Of which, about 77% reported that the accused was their current or former husband/partner. Researchers concluded that a factor that contributes to the prevalence and tolerance of domestic violence is the acceptance of violence in general community. Shockingly, the survey found that a large number of both women (62%) and men (48%) hold the belief that the husband is justified in hitting or even beating his wife under certain circumstances.

The employment code act 2019 specifically mentions ethnicity as a protected characteristic and therefore grounds for protection from discrimination.

Article 19 of the Zambian constitution specifically mentions belief as a protected characteristic and therefore on these grounds protected from discrimination.

Article 40 (1)

An employee who has worked for a period of six months or more, shall be granted leave of absence with pay for a period not exceeding seven days in a calendar year to enable the employee to nurse a sick spouse, child or dependant, except that the employer may, before granting that leave, require the employee to produce a certificate from a medical doctor certifying that the spouse, child or dependant is sick and requires special attention.

Article 23 (3) of the Zambian constitution specifically mentions sex as a protected characteristic, however gender equality continues to be an issue in Zambia, Statistics reveal that only 31% of females have completed primary school and only 8% have completed secondary school. Traditionally, females are expected to be homemakers, mothers, and wives. Women are uninformed on their rights regarding topics such as gender-based violence. Health issues – particularly HIV – are also a huge problem because they do not always have the education or understanding to protect themselves.

The Gender Equity and Equality Act 2015 was established to eliminate of all forms of discrimination against women, empower women and achieve gender equity and equality by giving effect to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.

There are no rights in Zambian law to legally change Gender.

As of July 2007, no public or private programs provide HIV-related counselling to homosexual men in Zambia, where the HIV seroprevalence rate among adults is approximately 17%.  Although men involved in same-sex sexual relationships have a higher risk of HIV transmission, the government-operated National AIDS Control Program does not address same-sex relationships.

It is a protected characteristic in Article 9 and 15 of the South African Constitution and therefore grounds for protection against discrimination.

There is no protection for physical integrity or body autonomy in Zambia, and therefore no protections for intersex people and no possibility for recording a third gender.

Same Sex Marriage is prohibited and there is no recognition for same sex couples. Zambian Law recognizes two kinds of marriage: Statutory marriages under the Marriage Act and customary marriage under different customs that may vary from tribe to tribe.

The Employment Code Act No. 3 of 2019, states that every female employee on production of a medical certificate is entitled to fourteen weeks’ maternity leave. This leave is inclusive of weekends and public holidays.

An employee has two options of taking her maternity leave. Option one, the employee can begin her maternity leave immediately before the expected date of delivery, but must leave at least six weeks of the maternity leave to be taken after delivery. Option two, the employee may begin the fourteen weeks leave after the delivery.

The employee must give reasonable notice to the employer with her intention to proceed and conclude her maternity leave. In case of multiple births (for example twins, triplets) the maternity leave shall be extended for another four weeks, and for premature babies leave shall be extended for a period as recommended by a medical doctor.

An employee has to complete at least two years of continuous service with the same employer from the date of first engagement or since the last maternity leave, to be entitled to maternity leave with full pay. However, female employees who do not meet the two years of continuous service threshold can still proceed on unpaid maternity leave.

The employer shall not, as a result of an employee’s pregnancy or maternity leave terminate that employee employment, impose any penalty or disadvantage to the employee or adversely change a condition of employment in respect of that employment.

It should be noted that, however, this does not stop the summary dismissal of an employee where the employee is found guilty under any of the circumstances that warrant summary dismissal.

The Mental Health Act 2019 was developed to provide protection of persons with mental illness, mental disorder, mental impairment and mental disability.  However, it does not specifically mention employment.

Article 23 (3) of the Constitution of Zambia specifically mentions place of tribe as a protected characteristic and therefore grounds for protection from discrimination.

The employment code act 2019, specifically mentions nationality as a protected characteristic and therefore grounds for protection from discrimination.

The employment code act 2019 specifically mentions family responsibility as a protected characteristic and therefore grounds for protection from discrimination.

The Employment Code Act states that a male employee who has had one-year continuous service immediately before the paternity commencement date, is entitled to 5 continuous days’ leave providing he is the father of the child, he has submitted a birth record for the child and the leave is taken within seven days of the birth of the child.

Article 23 (3) of the Constitution of Zambia specifically mentions place of origin as a protected characteristic and therefore grounds for protection from discrimination.

Article 23 (3) of the Constitution of Zambia specifically mentions political opinion as a protected characteristic and therefore grounds for protection from discrimination.

The employment code act 2019 specifically mentions pregnancy as a protected characteristic and therefore grounds for protection from discrimination.

Article 23 (3) of the Constitution of Zambia specifically mentions race, colour and creed as protected characteristics and therefore grounds for protection from discrimination.

Article 19 of the Zambian constitution refers to protection of freedom of conscience: the said freedom includes freedom of thought and religion, freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others, and both in public and in private, to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.


Sexual harassment is prohibited under the Anti Gender Based Violence Act 2011. The Act defines harassment as engaging in a pattern of conduct that induces the fear of imminent harm or feelings of annoyance and aggravation in a person, including sexual contact without the consent of the person with whom the contact is made and making unwanted sexual advances; following, pursuing or accosting a person or making persistent, unwelcome communication with a person. It also includes watching, loitering outside or near a building where the harassed person resides, works, carries on business, studies or happens to be; repeatedly making phone calls or using a third party to make phone calls to the harassed person, whether or not conversation ensues; repeatedly sending, delivering or causing the delivery of offensive or abusive letters, telegrams, packages, facsimiles, electronic mail or other offensive objects or messages to the harassed person; or engaging in any other menacing behaviour.

There is implicit but no explicit legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the Zambian Constitution.

There is no access to IVF treatment for lesbian, and no commercial surrogacy for gay male couples.