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Government not worried with human rights record

By Wezzie Gausi:

MVALO—We had no choice

Minister of Justice, Titus Mvalo, has said Malawi is ready for Universal Periodic Review (UPR) which is slated for the first week of November, 2020.

During the review, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) looks at the performance of human rights violations in specific countries and examines further global human rights issues.

Mvalo, who addressed the press in Lilongwe, Monday said for Malawi, UNHRC will review the 2015-2020 human rights report.

“This includes assessing the human rights records of all UN member states every four and a half years through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

“As a council member, we are sure as a country we have performed quite well on human rights issues. Although we are not fully there, most of the recommendations that were previously made to us have been done. For instance, the issue of decongesting prisons has been keenly followed and with the outbreak of Covid-19 we had no choice but to release some inmates to create space,” Mvalo said.

He added that Malawi will continue to ensure promotion of human rights and its mechanisms by widening the space for engagement and dialogue with civil society and national human rights institutions, among others.

Chief State Advocate in the Human Rights Section, Pacharo Kayira, said time has come for the country to move in new dimensions in terms of human rights having been elected to sit in UNHRC for the 2021-23 period.

He said the country’s active performance at the council elevates Malawi to influence human rights outcomes in the UN system and could also prove to be a stepping stone for achieving other political ambitions.

“In this case, Malawi will be expected to participate and contribute to the council through many initiatives such as initiation of resolutions in collaboration with other countries and the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights, as well as enhancing exchange of information on good practices and lessons learned,” Kayira said.

UNHRC comprises 47 member states who are elected by all member states.

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