President Peter Mutharika prides himself to be a democrat, saying the ground realities are strikingly different from the picture of doom and gloom that emerges from the media – social or mainstr
eam – as his administration has taken concrete steps to consolidate social, cultural and economic rights of the people.
The President said in a statement in commemorating the International Human Rights Day which falls on December 10.
“As a country, we have a duty to promote human dignity, equality and freedom. I am proud to say, in the last three years, we have made impressive progress in living up to our moral obligations and commitments to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. No one doubts that Malawi is a democratic society. And I am proud to be a democrat,” said Mutharika.
He pointed out that recently Parliament passed laws that protect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms of women and children. These include the Child Care Protection and Justice Act; prevention of Domestic Violence Act, Gender Equality Act; Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act; Disability Act, Access to Information Act and the newly passed HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Management) Act.
Mutharika said among other initiatives, his government is ensuring the people’s right to education and literacy levels have risen among Malawians.
“We have also made progress in improving the economy to improve the welfare of the people. Poverty is a violation of human rights because poverty takes away human dignity. Slowly, life is improving for most Malawians,” said Mutharika.
The Malawi leader said people’s housing is improving in rural areas and grass thatched houses are being phased out in most villages of the country.
Notably, he said, the mode of transport is changing in most rural communities as many people can now afford motorcycles as they migrate from the bicycle.
“Above all, Malawians have enough food,” said Mutharika.
The President said his government has also worked very hard in the area of civil and political rights.
“For instance, we have ensured that the media operates freely in order to adequately inform the people to enable them meaningfully participate in the public affairs. But whenever anyone, including the media, misinforms the people, it becomes a violation of the rights of the people. Everybody has the duty to inform the people rightly,” he said.
Mutharika encouraged Malawians to strive to balance and moderate their quest for rights and freedoms with duty and obligations to themselves, others and to the nation.
“The responsibility to safeguard the rights of our children, partners, neighbours and workmates rests with us all,” he said.
The President also said he has followed “disturbing reports” of violence caused by women on fellow women.
“This is very unfortunate and should never happen in a country with an impeccable human rights record like ours,” he said.
Mutharika said he is “delighted” to note that there are many Malawians who have dedicated themselves to the fight against gender based violence.
“My Government will endeavor all the way to create an atmosphere that is conducive to the promotion of human rights in Malawi. I am aware of the funding challenges facing the human rights sector. We are actively working towards resolving these challenges,” he pledged.
Mutharika urged Malawians to guarantee human rights and freedoms to all citizens, especially by standing up to all those who violate other people’s rights.
“To every Malawian, I say, let us all stand up for the rights of vulnerable people who cannot stand for their own rights. Let us all stand up for the poor, the elderly, the sick, children, persons with disability, persons with albinism, persons with HIV and AIDS, women and girls.
“Let us defend human rights. Let us report human rights violations. Let us be proud to be champions of human rights,” he said.
Human Rights Day is observed on Dec. 10. The day commemorates the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The UN and all UN members celebrate the day – first recognized in 1948, almost 70 years ago.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :