Christoph Strässer, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement on 22 July in response to the decision by Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu to commute 332 prisoners’ death sentences to life behind bars:
I expressly welcome this move. Although a de‑facto moratorium has been in place in Zambia since 1997, the death sentence has continued to be handed down on a regular basis. I therefore strongly urge President Lungu and the people of Zambia to use the process of constitutional reform currently under way to finally abolish the death penalty.
The death penalty is an inhumane, cruel and immoral form of punishment which has no place in the 21st century. The Federal Government opposes capital punishment under all circumstances and will continue to campaign for its universal abolition.