HRDC under fire for ‘abuse of child rights’ in demos

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has come under fire for using minors tocause havoc  during its so- called peaceful demonstrations.

Demonstration by HRDC with kids 

Seven minors were among those arrested by   police while committing different various crimes during the Thursday’s demonstrations which the coalition organised.

A police arrest check-list shows that four children, Mayeso Yuston, 17; Gerald Charles, 13; Leston Chebakili, 15; Charles Yusuf, 14; all from Traditional Authority Mbwatalika in Lilongwe, were arrested while stoning shops at Area 18B.

Other two minors Timothy Banda, 15, from Lilongwe; Gerald Arnold, 18, from Dedza; were nabbed alongside Chimwemwe Waluza, 23, from Ntcheu; Langison Maunde, 19, from Mchinji; Moffat Chabwera, 21, from Balaka, Jailosi Chauma, 31, from Lilongwe, Helix Banda, 24, from Lilongwe and Stephano Kalipinde, 22, from Lilongwe; while breaking into shops at Area 18A.

The minors from Traditional Authorities Mbwatalika in Lilongwe, Kamenyagwaza in Dedza and Siphasi in Mchinji were among the people which HRDC found trucked from the outlying parts of Lilongwe to the demonstrations in the city.

The arrest of the minors has shocked retired Child Magistrate Esmie Tembenu who is now Executive Director for Family Rights, Elderly and Child Protection (FRECHIP).

While acknowledging that children, like any human beings have the right to express themselves, and engage in dialogue on issues that affect them, Tembenu said adults need to ensure that children receive timely, appropriate and maximum protection and be prevented from violating other peoples rights and coming in contact with the law.

“The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which is the most widely ratified human  rights treaty in the world recognizes the rights of children to freedom of association and to freedom of peaceful assembly in line with the Malawi Constitution.

“Malawi has demonstrated a strong commitment to childrens rights since becoming a signatory to the CRC by enacting the Child Care, Protection and Justice Act, 2010 and other child related laws and policies which aim at giving primary consideration to the welfare and best interests of children by empowering Malawians to ensure that the provision of care and protection to children is given primary consideration by among others, preventing them from abusing other peoples rights,” said Tembenu.

She further said children have the right to participate only in peaceful and non-violent demonstrations that are done through a statement or action without the use of violence against other people.

“The CRC and the Child Care, Protection and Justice Act further provide children with the right not to be separated from parents unless in the best interests, and to be protected from all forms of physical or  mental violence.

“We are wondering if the ones who take children to these demonstrations are their parents or guardians. If not, do these people that ferry the children obtain consent of their respective parents and guardians who could accompany and prevent them from being in contact with law? Was there any adult assigned during planning of the demonstrations to prevent the children from coming in contact with the law?” wondered Tembenu.

She said it is wrong for adults to exploit children to serve their agenda. She pleaded with all well-meaning Malawians to ensure that children are provided with maximum protection from either being abused or abusing other people.

During the demonstrations, some of the protestors invaded the residential Area 18 where they slashed maize in some field and terrorized homes.

Angry residents apprehended some of the demonstrators and beat them up.

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oMachemba
Guest
oMachemba

MCP brought these kids basi. No doubt.
That Party simply continuing with its human rights tradition: only that this time, it’s kid that are involved. Shame to MCP and oChakwera wao’yo.

Mtete
Guest
Mtete

As far as I am concerned, there are only five aged 17 and below. There will always be errant youths and this why we have Mpemba Reformatory or Chirwa Approved Schools. It all boils down to upbringing. What do you expect from children who sleep on empty tummies? The most APM/DPP is doing is distributing rotten maize mixed with deya.

I have no sympathy for those 18 years and above. Chances are that these are the so-called cadets deliberately sent to give peaceful demos a bad name. Let’s see what the police will do.

Nchalo Ngabu
Guest
Nchalo Ngabu

MCP has been a violent party since John Tembo days, it has now realised that Malawians will NEVER put it into power and this is why it want to cause war in Malawi, shame to you! Why should you abuse kids? Why should you destroy other people’s shops? Why should you slash other people’s maize fields? Is that your fundamental right? Very sorry Malawians will get tired of your militia activities and will pay you back! Very soon! Keep being stupid. Enawa ndiye Kaya ndindani? All your national executive members lost paliamentary sits, how do you expect to win presidential… Read more »

Nchalo Ngabu
Guest
Nchalo Ngabu

Kupanda nzeru! Iwe ana ako unawatenga popita kumademo? Utenga bwanji ana anzako? Simuzalamulira Malawi anthu akupha ndikuwononga inu. Ngati msanje ikukupangitsani kuti muyambitse nkhondo Malawi muno mwawuponda! Amalawi azindikira cholinga chanu, kuti sichomanga koma chopasula dziko.
Mawa mutenge ana Anu, siyani ana anzanuwo.

Tchana
Guest
Tchana

Author nd cadet iwe shut ur stinking mouth ……HRDC is not under fire but adad ako aja

Nchalo Ngabu
Guest
Nchalo Ngabu

Mbaya Iwe, shut up your stinking mouth! Tikumana kunsewu konko takutoperani! Tikumana pakati pa Highway pompo mawa!

Gome
Guest
Gome

Which fire now and which child abuse. a DPP nanunso mumaganiza ngati chule, pa 16 pano tikukayendanso ndi ana womwe asieni Ana amenyere ufulu wawo.

Nchalo Ngabu
Guest
Nchalo Ngabu

Tikum kumseu konko! Tizikatetenga mashop ndi chimanga chathu! Mphwaa! Mphwanyembo! Mukujayiraaa kwabasi ambwenumbwenu inu!

Mavuto
Guest
Mavuto

Ana achina mtambo Ali kuma academy pomwe Ana anzao akuwayendesa mseu unintentionally teaching kids how to break into shops. Hrdc should own this mess no excuse. Hrdc has duty to remove kids from participating in their demos.

Test
Guest
Test

Let Child protection agencies and UNICEF take appropriate action. Let the children be interviewed in order to find out how they ended up in this predicament.

Lego
Guest

Have you run out of ideas or what?What has made the HRDC under fire?Stop diverting real issues on pity issues.

mwana mlomwe
Guest
mwana mlomwe

Omwe mwagwirawo sanalikoyenda anali kokuba HRDC amapanga za ma demo not zokuba ndiye HRDC is not on fire but those who went out to destroy other peoples property are the ones on fire together with Peter Muthalika and police officers who went kwa nsundwe. hence I am requesting you to change the title of the article as soon as possible.

Kaitano
Guest
Kaitano

Za ziiiiii, inu mesa mukugwira oononga zinthu? Kaya ndi mwana, kaya ndi wamkulu inu londolani lamulo. Anabwera okha ndipo omwe amagwidwawo sadalinso pa gulu la anthu oyenda ndawalawo mukumva nokha. Nde za HRDC under fire kuti chani?

Extra Point
Guest
Extra Point

Its hard to believe we still have people who think HRDC is a problem and not their government. HRDC has been organized demos for people to freely protests the hardship they are going through. The participants arrange how they travel. Think of Msundwe where people hire lorries to come.
Government can reduce the demos not by attacking HRDC as it has been doing but by addressing the concerns. It is simple to do. People will have no reasons to demonstrate.

Nchalo Ngabu
Guest
Nchalo Ngabu

Msundwe people hired Lorie’s or Hrdc hire Lorie’s to bring msundwe people? Shame on you! Why should you break other people’s shops and slash Malawians maize fields? A MCP takutoperani ndi anzanu amathanyulawo! Very soon Malawians will fight you back. Chipani chakuphaa! Ng’ona zanu zinafa pano mukumayenda ndi zikwanje? Chipani chotembeleredwaa!