The Vice-President Inonge Wina on Wednesday said that the Zambia government was open to discussions on the possibilities of abolishing the death penalty in the country.
Wina said this in Lusaka as the country joined the rest of the world to commemorate the 2019 Human Rights Day.
She said the current government of President Edgar Lungu had not carried out any execution of individuals sentenced to death by the courts because it respects human rights.
In remarks delivered during the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day, Wina said successive governments have been commuting death sentences to life imprisonment.
Wina added that the current president had so far commuted more death sentences to life imprisonment than any other president in the country’s history.
According to her, the Zambian leader does not tolerate torture and other forms of inhuman or degrading treatment.
She, however, urged the country’s human rights body, the Human Rights Commission (HRC), to take advantage of the prevailing political and public goodwill to scale up public sensitisation on the possibility of abolishing the death penalty.
Mudford Mwandenga, the Chairperson of the Human Rights body said that the Zambian government had largely demonstrated a commitment to meeting its obligation of protecting the rights of inmates.
He called on the private sector and cooperating partners to support the government’s efforts towards enhancing the rights of persons in detention and correctional facilities.
The UN Resident Coordinator Coumba Gadio commended Zambia for the efforts in promoting human rights through various programmes being implemented.
In July 2015, President Lungu commuted the sentences of 332 death-row prisoners to life imprisonment.
Edited by: Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim