Malawi will be submitting rights report to UN, assures JB

Malawi will be submitting written reports on the state of human rights record to international bodies like Africa Union and United Nations, President Joyce Banda has assured.

Banda made the assurances when she met the outgoing fourth cohort of Malawi Human Rights Commissioner on Monday at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre.

The DPP led government of late president Bingu wa Mutharika was refusing to submit written reports on human rights to UN as it was encouraging and organising the intimidation and unlawful killing of individuals or groups that challenged the regime.

President Banda

Late Mutharika incited his followers to take to the streets with arms, allowed the police to beat and kill members of the opposition, crushed media dissent, and broken up peaceful assemblies with deadly force.

DPP regime ignored the authority of the national courts system, incited prejudice and hatred of vulnerable minorities including and relegated women to the status of second-class citizens.

But President Banda said all of this will change as her administration would adhere and uphold human rights principals.

She noted that the environment in which the commission was working was hostile despite progress made.

“I am aware of the environment you worked in and that your lives were threatened but you enlightened Malawi to the right path and for that you deserve commendation,” said President Banda.

President Banda also disclosed at the farewell meeting that she plans to build a hostel at Maula Prison to improve the wellbeing of prisoners thereby upholding their human rights.

“It was at the time I went to see Atupele Muluzi when I noted bad conditions for the prisoners and this touched me and this hostel will be constructed soon enough,” said President Banda.

According to the President, the process of selecting new commissioners is already underway and that it would be speeded up to avoid a vacuum as observed by the outgoing fourth cohort of the Malawi Human Rights Commissioners.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Ralph Kasambara celebrated the retiring commissioners on credible research which he said Government and Civil Society Organizations (CSO) benefited from.

“Government will take into account the recommendations in the findings as we seek to bring back principals and values of democracy,” promised Kasambara.

The outgoing fourth cohort of Malawi Human Rights Commissioners include Chairman John Kapito who has served for six years and Reverend Dr. Zacc Kawalala, Veronica Sembereka, Sophie Kalinde, Shenerd Mazengera, Grace Malera, Desmond Kaunda, Marshal Chilenga and Matthew Chilemba.

Apart from John Kapito, the rest of the commissioners have served the commission for three years except for Mazengera who quit her position last year on grounds that she joined Oxfam in the United Kingdom.

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