Malawi human rights watchdog Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP), have petitioned the office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to press on the Peter Mutharika administration to address matters of extra judicial killings, threats to rights defenders and journalists.
In a petition seen by Nyasa Times, the two organisations say there is need to push for justice on the 20th July 2011 shooting of the protesters by Malawi Police , saying those responsible should face justice and that the victims should be compensated.
“We call upon your office to strongly encourage Malawi as a matter of urgency to meaningfully address—through proper judicial channels—the 20th July 2011 cases. The government should immediately take steps to compensate all victims of the 20 July 2011 demonstrations, and ensure that those involved in the violence are held accountable for their actions by law regardless of their political affiliations or any status,” reads the petition signed by CHRR and Cedep executive directors Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence respectively.
They also raised the issues of University of Malawi student activist Robert Chasowa who was brutally murdered by the DPP regime agents.
“Three years ago the Malawi Government commenced investigations and initiated arrests for the suspects. It is disappointing that up to date justice has not been delivered and there is no political will to conclude this matter.
“Malawians are worried whether the Robert Chasowa case and even the July 2011 killings will see justice because both cases had a lot of political linkages as revealed by both the July 20 and Chasowa commission of inquiry reports. Suffice to say that these happened during the ruling party that is back in power (DPP) hence leading to lack of political will,” the petition reads.
The rights campaigners called on the UN to “impress upon the Malawi Government as a matter of urgency” to bring the alleged perpetrators to book regardless of their political affiliations and status.
CHRR and Cedep also informed UN that human rights defenders are still working in fear in Malawi following their harassment during the previous DPP oppressive rule where dozens were arrested and attacked.
“We therefore humbly request your office to call upon the Malawi Government to investigate and bring to book persons who were responsible for those arbitrary arrests, death threats and arson of offices and homes of human rights and political activists.
“The Malawi Government should also assure Human rights defenders living and operating in Malawi that such undemocratic tenants against human rights defenders shall never happen and that the government will always ensure good working environment for human rights defenders as stipulated by international human rights standards.”
In an interview with Nyasa Times from Geneva, CHRR’s Mtambo said it is “important” that these issues are finally resolved.
“As a country we have worshipped impunity for so long and it will continue manifesting itself if we do not take radical actions as a people. Now the country is totally lost and the people who are supposed to show us the light are in total darkness, citizens must work up and correct this mess,” Mtambo said.
“We cannot afford to forget the impunities of the past of our government. If we do not address these ills ad evils, it will remain a justification for evil to be repeated. People must be held accountable regardless of who they are, where they are and what they are.
“We want nothing but justice and we will not tire or fear until justice takes its rightful course,” he said.
In the petition, the CSOs also asked UN to press Malawi to improve its compliance with international human rights conventions and meaningfully commits to implementing and domesticating these instruments in a comprehensive manner.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :