©REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha ©REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Zambia: Amnesty International welcomes the abolishment of the death penalty

Responding to an announcement by Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema on Friday 23 December 2022, that he had assented to a law banning the death penalty and the offence of criminal defamation of the president, Tigere Chagutah Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa said:

“Amnesty International welcomes the announcement by President Hichilema that the death penalty has been abolished in Zambia. This is a good and progressive move that shows the country’s commitment to protecting the right to life.

Amnesty International welcomes the announcement by President Hichilema that the death penalty has been abolished in Zambia. This is a good and progressive move that shows the country’s commitment to protecting the right to life.

Tigere Chagutah, East and Southern Africa Regional Director, Amnesty International

“We also commend President Hichilema for quashing the offence of criminal defamation of the president, used until recently to muzzle free speech and unjustifiably limit freedom of expression in the country.

“With the abolition, Zambia the 25th country in sub-Saharan Africa to abolish the death penalty for all crimes.

“Zambia’s decision to ban the death penalty should serve as an example to countries in the region that still use the death penalty and compel them to take immediate steps to end this cruel, inhuman and degrading form of punishment and protect the right to life.”

Zambia’s decision to ban the death penalty should serve as an example to countries in the region that still use the death penalty.

Tigere Chagutah

Amnesty International also encourages Zambia authorities to promptly accede to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.

BACKGROUND

In its latest report on the use of the death penalty, Amnesty International documented that executions in sub Saharan Africa more than doubled from 16 in 2020 to 33 in 2021.

There have been important steps towards abolition across Southern Africa in recent years. Angola, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, and South Africa have all abolished the death penalty.