Nkhata Bay District Executive Committee (DEC) have reserved their decision to approve a two year Access-to-Justice Project, to be implemented jointly by Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP) and the Malawi Police Service.
The Nkhata Bay technocrats have instead referred the proposed project to a full council for further consultation before approving it.
District Youth Officer, Samuel Thapasila Gondwe, who chaired the DEC meeting on behalf of the district commissioner Thursday, told CEDEP and Police officials from headquarters that the project is sensitive in nature, hence the need for further consultation with a full council before giving the project a node.
CEDEP Deputy Chairperson, Reverend Macdonald Sembeleka, had told DEC members in his earlier remarks that the project aimed at preserving human rights and improving access to formal and informal justice, and security for sexual minorities like lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) in Malawi.
He also said the LGBTI community is denied justice and protection on the basis of their sexual identity.
“Apparently, when they are victims of violence and would like to seek justice and protection, they are afraid for fear of being stigmatized and discriminated on the basis of real or perceived sexual orientation,” Sembereka observed.
However, the DEC chairperson, Thapasila Gondwe, described the project as sensitive, needing further consultation with a full Nkhata Bay Council before approval.
“Nkhata Bay DEC would have approved the project, but there is need to refer the matter to a full council for their input before DEC approves the project,” he said.
Several other DEC members also quashed the sentiments that Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender and Intersex activities are alarming in Nkhata Bay.
“Who are these people? And where do they stay? We need to know them. Sex workers are known in the district because they formed an association, and these people need to come out and make an association like their friends so that their problems are handled professionally,” said Gideon Nahumu, Nkhata Bay Police Officer in Charge.
The Finish Embassy- funded project was developed on the basis of a previous workshop which CEDEP, Malawi Law Society, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, and Malawi Police Service conducted in Liwonde on the December 9 to 10, 2014.
During the workshop, delegates recommended that there should be regional and district workshops where regional and district police officers must be sensitized on LGBTI issues.
Following the recommendation, CEDEP engaged the Finish Government for support to roll out similar activities in ten districts on access to justice and security.
Earmarked districts for the project include Karonga, Mzuzu, Nkhata Bay, Salima, Lilongwe, Nkhota kota, Mangochi, Blantyre, Chikwawa, and Mulanje.
Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :