Veteran rights campaigner Undule Mwakasungula has backed calls by human rights activists in the country that government should put measures to cushion the poor during the coronavirus lockdown which comes into effect at the weekend.
He asked government and all concerned stakeholders to make sure that the rights of vulnerable groups are being protected during the lockdown period.
Mwakasungula said that rights of vulnerable groups such as eldery, people with disabilities,children among others are at threat with the lockdown especially if no special measures have been put in place.
For example, the former Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) boss said government should make sure that the vulnerable groups will have access to food, portable water and health care during the lockdown period.
Mwakasungula further asked all the human rights bodies to put in place mechanism that will monitor and report gender base violence within 21-days of lockdown.
Apart from that, Mwakasungula said government should also advice the military and police to respect the rights of people when enforcing the lockdown order.
“Lockdown is very important when it comes to preventing the spread of Covid-19. However, within this period rights of vulnerable groups are violated. Therefore we urge gvernment to remind enforcing agencies that lockdown does not give a room to abuse its power.
“The law enforcers should use this period to gain trust from the public. Human rights bodies should monitor act of gender base violence,” reads part of the statement.
So far, 16 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Malawi, mainly in the main cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe, the government said this week.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development is expected this Friday to announce measurers to help the poor cope with the lockdown.
Malawi is one of the poorest countries on the continent where more than half of the population live below the poverty threshold.
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