Zambia: The death penalty’s abolishment is “a historic milestone”

Date:

The death penalty's abolishment is "a historic milestone"

  • news by AUN News correspondent
  • Friday, January 06, 2023
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • The authorities received a broad spectrum of technical support from several UN organisations there, which helped them achieve the milestone.

  • At each of the first, second, and third periodic reviews, getting rid of the death penalty was an important topic.

  • May saw a “breakthrough moment”After taking office in August 2021, President Hichilema and the new Zambian government made a “breakthrough moment” commitment in May of the following year to abolish the death sentence and work with parliament to do it, according to a statement.

  • Since then, the UN team had stepped up its advocacy work, which came to a head when International Human Rights Day was celebrated with government partners in December.

  • The UN and the Zambian government recently ratified a new five-year collaboration roadmap.

President Hakainde Hichilema announced the action on December 23. He said it came after years of lobbying by the National Human Rights Commission, civil society groups, development partners, the UN team, and other partners.

Beatrice Mutali, the resident coordinator, is in charge of the UN staff in Zambia.

The authorities received a broad spectrum of technical support from several UN organisations there, which helped them achieve the milestone.

Favouring a rights review

For example, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) helped the country get ready for the Universal Periodic Reviews (UPR) of the UN Human Rights Council, including the fourth review that is scheduled for this year.

The UPR procedure was set up in 2006 so that all 193 UN Member States could be judged on their human rights records.

A working group oversees it, and at each of its three annual meetings, 14 nations are examined.

At each of the first, second, and third periodic reviews, getting rid of the death penalty was a major topic.

May saw a “breakthrough moment”

After taking office in August 2021, President Hichilema and the new Zambian government made a “breakthrough moment” commitment in May of the following year to abolish the death sentence and work with parliament to do it, according to a statement.

Since then, the UN team has stepped up its advocacy work, which came to a head when International Human Rights Day was celebrated with government partners in December.

The UN team also helped review, change, and pass common laws like the Penal Code and the Public Order Act. This made it possible for the crime of defaming the president to be taken off the books recently.

The UN and the Zambian government recently ratified a new five-year collaboration roadmap.

“Under this UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, the country team will continue to support the government’s efforts to strengthen democracy, human rights, and the rule of law,” the announcement said.

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