Human Rights Office welcomes Zambia’s commitment to abolish the death penalty — Global Issues

President Hakainde Hichilema announced the development Tuesday in a speech on the eve of Africa Day, according to media reports.

“We warmly welcome the commitment of the President of Zambia on May 24 to abolish the death penalty in the country and work with Parliament to end this cruel, inhuman and degrading punishmentsaid Seif Magango, spokesperson for OHCHR.

“The use of the death penalty is incompatible with fundamental human rights and dignity,” he added.

A major step forward

While Zambia has maintained a moratorium on the death penalty since 1997, when the last executions took place, Magango said formal abolition in law would be a major step forward for human rights in the country.

Zambia would also join the growing global consensus in favor of the universal abolition of the death penalty. Some 170 countries have abolished it or introduced a moratorium, either in law or in practice.

OHCHR called on the Government and Parliament to strengthen the President’s commitment through concrete legal reforms, including by amending the Criminal Code Act and the Criminal Procedure Code Act.

Support and cooperation

In addition, the authorities should reinvigorate the constitutional reform process to expand the Bill of Rights, including the explicit prohibition of the death penalty.

The Government was also urged to show greater international leadership on the issue by ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the abolition of the death penalty.

Magagno said OHCHR “stands ready to provide technical assistance and cooperation to the Zambian authorities make that promise a reality.”

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