British Minister for Africa in the Foreign Office, Henry Bellingham says Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) is concerned with Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika’s hate speeches agaist civil society activists and deteriorating human rights situation, vowing to continue giving him pressure to change.
According to House of Commons Hansard of the October 17, Bellingham made the remarks on Monday when he gave a ministerial report on the meeting between Britain and Malawi on diplomatic relations which was held on October 12, 2011.
He told House of Commons that Britain officials who included Foreign Secretary William Hague discussed with Malawi’s Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Mutharika, Britain underlines its “serious concern at the dangerous rhetoric President Mutharika has used against civil society, which has the potential to incite further violence.”
Bellingham also said Britain condemned “the threatening behaviour of elements of President Mutharika’s party” and the violence meted out to protestors during the nationwide popular July 20, demonstrations which claimed the death of 20 people due to police’s use of lethal force.
He said Britain will continue to put more pressure on Mutharika administration to respect their international human rights commitments.
UK also intends to step up support to civil society organisations in Malawi that promote accountability, transparency and respect for human rights, according to Bellingham.
“I am deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Malawi,” he said commenting on the death of university student pro-democracy activist Robert Chasowa who is believed to have been murdered by state agents.
“The death of Robert Chasowa, a student activist, comes after a string of arson attacks and death threats against prominent civil society figures and other Malawians who have criticised the behaviour of their President,” he told House of Commons.
Bellingham said Britain concerns were raised during their meeting with Peter Mutharika.