CSOs welcome Malawi govt’s historic appearance at African Commission

Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for Development of People (Cedep) have applauded Malawi government’s historical appearance before the 56th Session of African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights currently underway in Banjul where Malawi’s maiden report submitted in 2013 will be reviewed.

CHRR's Munthali says government appearance is a positive step

CHRR’s Munthali  (L)says government appearance is a positive step

The two civil society groups said government’s appearance is a positive step towards the state adherence to international human rights instruments to which it is party to.

State parties to the African Charter on human and peoples’ rights, including Malawi, have the obligations to submit reports every two years to update the commission on their promotion and protection mandate of human and peoples’ rights in their respective countries.

However, after 25 years of non-compliance to her obligations to the commission, Malawi submitted its maiden report in 2013, and this is the first time for Malawi government is to appear before the commission for the discussions and review of the report. Malawi’s report is due for review on 28th April 2015.

Speaking before their departure to Banjul for the session, CHRR Human Rights and Advocacy Coordinator Makhumbo Munthali hailed the Malawi government’s decision stating that such a move partly demonstrated government’s commitment towards adherence to her international obligations

“As CHRR and Cedep we are excited with this move. By resolving to appear before the 56th Session of African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights the Malawi government has not only demonstrated its willingness towards adherence to her international obligations but also commitment towards the promotion and protection of human rights for all. The very fact that the decision is coming against a positive background of Malawi’ similar maiden historical appearance at the 111th session of United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva recently offers some hope of a better Malawi in as far as respect, promotion and protection of human rights is concerned.”.

The rights groups added that current 56th session will provide the government of Malawi to update the commission on the progress registered in the promotion and protection of human rights over the years.

“The session in Gambia will hence provide the platform for Malawi government to give the status quo of protection and promotion of human rights in the country, the progress on implementation of the African Charter on Human and Peoples rights, and also update the commission on the progress made in the implementation of the recommendations made in the 2013 civil society shadow report” states Munthali

CHRR and Cedep, who also submitted their shadow report in 2012, will represent the Civil Society during the forthcoming session. Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation since 1998 when it acquired the observer status to the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights has been presenting and submitting human rights brief reports to the commission highlighting the progress, challenges and recommendations made to the Malawi government on issues of human rights and good governance.

Malawi government has sent a highly powered delegation which includes the Minister of Justice and Consittutional Affairs and Solicitor General. The Civil Society is represented by CHRR’s Makhumbo Munthali and Cedep Emma Kalea who left for Gambia on 27th April 2015 to join Government’s delegation.

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