By Mathews Kasanda:
Human rights bodies have reported the government to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights for alleged human rights violations in the country just few days after taking similar concerns to the United Nations.
Vice chairperson of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), Gift Trapence, made the report through his speech he delivered on October 25 in The Gambia during the 65th Ordinary Session of African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.
On behalf of Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, Centre for Development of People and HRDC, Trapence raised several alleged human rights abuse cases by the government.
Chief State Advocate, Pacharo Kayira, represented government at the meeting.
“We are happy that our government is here so that they can hear once again the issues that we are presenting… but they have either responded by issuing more threats or using their spinner and the state owned Malawi Broadcasting Corporation to issue more threats,” Trapence said.
The civil society organisations have further informed delegates about alleged assassination attempts on HRDC chairperson, Timothy Mtambo, assault on Billy Mayaya and reports that some Malawi Police Service officers sexually assaulted girls at Msundwe in Lilongwe following the death of their fellow officer who was allegedly stoned to death by residents.
The CSOs have requested the African Commission to intervene by writing the Malawi Government to, among other things, end harassment and death threats against HRDC members.
They have also asked the commission to request the Malawi Government to ensure that cases involving police violations of law such as shooting civilians and raping women and girls are investigated by an independent body.
When HRDC reported alleged human rights abuses to the UN early this month, Minister of Information, Mark Botomani, responded by saying that CSOs should be telling international organisations the truth.
He argued that the current administration is accredited with upholding human and people’s rights.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.