The Malawi’s UN Resident Coordinator Mia Seppo says corruption is perhaps the greatest obstacle to the realization of human rights and development in Malawi.
Speaking during the commemoration of International Human Rights day on Wednesday, in the capital Lilongwe, Seppo said corruption acts as a brake on development, denying millions of people around the world the prosperity, rights, services and employment which they desperately need – and deserve.
“Corruption stifles economic growth, undermines the rule of law, and squanders talent and precious resources. Where corruption is rife, companies are reluctant to invest as the cost of doing business is significantly higher. When jobs are given not on merit but through nepotism, opportunities are denied,” she said.
She however said the UN welcomes the Malawi government’s commitment to passing and implementing the Access to Information Bill saying this will strengthen transparency and facilitate the fight against corruption.
“Second, the Government’s commitment to establish an independent contract negotiating unit in extractive resources to ensure that contracts are properly negotiated to maximise benefits for the country and to subscribe to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative is welcome. Last but by no means least, the commitment to public sector reform and public finance management reform is critical.”
Seppo also said gender inequality, social norms and discrimination against women are amongst the root causes of violence against women and girls in Malawi.
“Implementing and enforcing the ground breaking Gender Equality Act which entered into force this year and the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act is an opportunity to change attitudes and stereotypes that perpetuate discriminatory practices against women”.
The Human Rights Day is the day on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that remains as relevant today.