‘Holding duty bearers answerable’ is Malawi theme for human rights day

Malawi will commemorate the International Human Rights Day this year under the theme, “Human Rights, Responsibilities and Accountability: Holding Duty Bearers” answerable, that’s according to the statement issued by Malawi Human Rights Commission.

Chimwemwe Manyozo:  MHRC Public Relations Officer
Chimwemwe Manyozo: MHRC Public Relations Officer

On 10th December every year Malawi joins the international community in commemorating the International Human Rights Day – a day set aside by the United Nations following the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948.

The United Nations’ Theme for this year’s International Human Rights Commemoration is Human Rights 365 encompassing the idea that every day is Human Rights Day. The theme is sufficiently broad to allow its use by member states as a general call while allowing each country to focus on local priorities and challenges

In a statement emailed to Nyasa Times by MHRC Public Relations Officer Chimwemwe Manyozo, the choice of the local theme has been informed by the recognition of the need for Malawi to have a conversation on the various challenges that have continued to stand in the way of the effective realization of human rights.

He also said it reflect  “on the need to strengthen the system and  machinery through which various duty bearers are held accountable for non-fulfillment of human rights obligations.”

“The theme underscores a call on all duty bearers at the levels of the individual, the family, the community, the state and the international community to interrogate the critical question of accountability for human rights. It is a call to action on the obligation of those in authority to take responsibility for their actions, to answer for them by explaining and justifying them to those affected, and to be subject to some form of enforceable sanction if their conduct or explanation for it is found wanting “ reads the statement.

Reacting to this year’s theme through a telephone interview from Cape Town, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation  (CHRR) Executive Director Timothy Mtambo said it was directly relevant to the current context where the need for transparency and accountability from duty bearers is highly anticipated than ever before in an environment characterized by looting of public resources as is the case in the infamous cashgate.

The main event for the commemoration of the day in Malawi, according to the statement, will be a National Conference on the issue of Human Rights and Accountability which will draw the participation of policy makers, academics, civil society organizations, development partners, the private sector and other duty bearers.

The commemoration of this day will be preceded by 16 Days of Activism, starting from 25th November to 10 December 2014, especially against gender-based violence.

All stakeholders and every person, according to the statement, are invited to join in the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day and the observance of 16 days of activism.

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