Civil society organisations (CSOs) met the UN rights committee in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday during the pre-session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and reported on the human rights situation in Malawi, mainly focusing on the discrimination of sexual minorities.
Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) executive director Gift Trapence pleaded with the committee to impress on the Malawi Government to provide adequate protection against minorities.
Trapence urged the UN rights committee to make a strong recommendation to the Malawian Government to treat everyone in its territory with respect and as full bearers of rights, without discrimination of any kind, including on the basis of real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
He said his organisation has registered 76 cases of abuse of people because of different sexual orientation despite a moratorium.
Said Trapence: “In the report [to the UN Human Rights Council], Malawi has chosen to ignore issues of gays when referring bad laws to the Malawi Law Commission, claiming they have no money.”
As the CSO are pushing for the country to abolish the statute that penalise the homosexuality act, the Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) suggested the need to revise the penalty of those found guilty of homosexuality to be condemned to death. Currently the maximum jail term sentence for those found guilty by the courts is 14 years.
The organisations have since asked foreign missions based at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland to press Malawi on recommendations on human rights obligations it has not implemented since 2010
About five CSOs y made statements on progress on access to justice, child rights, media freedom and free speech and protection of people with albinism.
Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation CHRR executive director Timothy Mtambo recommended that government should outline concrete plans to protect the rights of people with albinism.
Cedep and CHRR represented Communication Workers Union of Malawi, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Media Institute of Southern Africa, Youth Empowerment and Civic Education, Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre, Paralegal Advisory Services Institute, Youth Consultative Forum, Church and Society of CCAP Nkhoma Synod.