Watchdog commends Malawi govt for UN rights indaba show up

The leading human rights governance Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) has commended Malawi Government for availing themselves during this year’s United Nations Human Rights committee meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

Malawi Government responded to some human rights concerns raised by the UN. Some of the issues were discussed include rights of prisoners, Rastafarians, the issue of July 20, 2011 demonstrations which claimed 20 lives and the issue of Police searching premises without search warrant. The other hot issue is the issue of spousal rape.

Secretary for Justice and Solicitor General Janet Banda and her team were representing Malawi Government.

Mtambo and Trapence captured at UN right committee meeting
Mtambo and Trapence captured at UN right committee meeting

“We commend government for making themselves available at the UN conference. As a citizen, human rights and good governance servant, I felt so proud to see my government seated in front of me responding to human rights issues,” said Mtambo adding that “True governments do not run away from being accountable and transparent to its people.”

The UN raised the issue of Rastafarians being discriminated against. UN wanted to find out Malawi government’s position on Rastafarians failing to find jobs, children being asked to cut hair for them to be enrolled in schools. Malawi officials’ response was that they had taken note of Rastafarians’ concerns and are pondering how to address them.

On the part of the July 20 killings, Malawi officials have told the UN that the challenge of July 20 demonstrations was high level of ignorance on the part of organisers and police. The media has also been blamed for sensationalising the issue.

UN on the other hand says it is concerned with the delay in prosecuting those suspected to have shot to death demonstrators on July 20 2011.

Mtambo said what government did was to uphold the very tenets and precepts of democracy good governance and the rule of law and persuaded the authorities to continue doing the same.

During the session, Malawi CSOs gave a report on how Malawi is fairing regarding the human rights issues.

In the report, the CSOs expressed concern over the conditions of prisons in Malawi saying the cells are too overcrowded.

The CSOs lamented that there is also poor nutrition which contributes to different diseases.

They also reported Malawi government to the UN over its behaviour of politicising constitutional bodies.

Government was told to put their hands off on Anti-Corruption Bureau, Malawi Police and any other body.

The CSOs also reported and asked Malawi Government to respect sexual minority people (LGBT) saying they have rights and should not be discriminated based on sexual orientation.

Having submitted the report, the CSOs requested government to implement the recommendations presented to the meeting.

“We have been good at ratifying the instrument but now we want instruments to trickle to the citizenry,” said Mtambo.

Some of the people who went to the meeting included Felisa Kilembe of  Malawi Law Society Secretary General, Gift Trapence of Centre for Development of people (CEDEP) Anthony Kasunda of Misa Malawi and Chrispine Sibande of Ipas.

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