Mwiza Nkhata vies for UN rights committee post: Dean of law at University of Malawi

Dean of Law at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, Dr. Mwiza Nkhata is running for elections to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, which will be held on 24 June, 2014 during the thirty-fourth session of the Meeting of States Parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Nkhata is currently in New York-US, to help in lobbying UN member States to support his candidature.

If elected, Nkhata could probably become the youngest member of the Committee ever. He is the only contestant from the Southern part of Africa and is likely going to be supported by SADC member States.

Dr Mwiza Nkhata

Dr Mwiza Nkhata

There are nine (9) vacant seats and fourteen candidates from across the five (5) UN regional groups have been nominated. Tunisia, Mauritius and Uganda are three other contestants from the African regional grouping.

The Human Rights Committee is the body of 18 independent experts that monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by all its State parties.

States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented.

The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of “concluding observations”.

Nkhata got admitted to the Malawi Bar in 2003 and since then, he has been actively engaged in both civil and criminal litigation at the domestic level.

He has also maintained a deep interest in international human rights law as evidenced by the academic research conducted in this area and the numerous presentations on human rights that he has made in various forums.

Nkhata is also a founder and Senior Partner at Barnet and James, Attorneys & Law Consultants, based in Zomba. He holds a Doctor of Laws (LLD), Master of Laws (Human Rights and Democratization) (LLM) with a distinction from the University of Pretoria, Bachelor of Laws (Hons) (LLB) University of Malawi, just to mention a few of his qualifications.

Members to the Human Rights Committee are elected for a term of four years by States parties from among their nationals, consideration being given to equitable geographical distribution and to representation of the different forms of civilization as well as of the principal legal systems, and serve in their personal capacity.

They may be re-elected if re-nominated. The Human Rights Committee meets in Geneva or New York and normally holds three sessions per year.

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