The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) on Tuesday questioned Malawi on the exclusion of efforts or progress it has made in recognition of rights of sexual minority groups in its maiden report it presented.
ACHPR Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Commissioner Reine Gansou said the Commission has received reports of violence against sexual minority groups.
“It’s my understanding that that the Civil Society Organisations were involved in drafting this report. At what stages of the report were they involved in drafting it. These are issues of concern on the African continent,” she noted.
Gansou added: “Do you consider sexual minority groups as part of the Malawian population whose rights deserve to be protected or outcasts?”
In response, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affaris, Samuel Tembenu, said government notes that the legal framework in Malawi is adequate to protect sexual minority rights holders against any form of violence.
“The Human Rights Commission has done a verification exercise of the claims of violation of access to health rights by sexual minority rights holders. The Commission didn’t find any evidence of such violation.
“I want to assure the Commission that in Malawi sexual minority rights holders are integrated in the community. There is no distinct community of gay or lesbians,” he said.
However, Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) and Centre for
Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) said they has been documenting incidents of violence against sexual minority people.
“It’s unfortunate that the Malawi Human Rights Commission indicate that they didn’t find any evidence of sexual minority people violations existing in Malawi. The country’s Penal code still criminalises homosexuality despite the fact that Section 20 of the constitution prohibits any form of discrimination,” said Gender Programmes Officer for Cedep and CHRR, Emma Kalea.
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