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MHRC 5th Cohort bows out

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The fifth cohort of commissioners for the Malawi Human Right Commission (MHRC) bows out tomorrow after serving in this capacity since 2012.

At a special event organised in honour of the commissioners, MHRC Chairperson Ambassador Sophie Kalinde called on government to ensure they help the incoming commissioners to maintain the “A” status institution, within the United Nations human rights mechanisms that they attained.

“My fellow commissioners of this 5th Cohort and I can without fear of contradiction affirm that we fearlessly carried out our work, and stayed true to the oath of office that we took to discharge our functions without ‘fear’ or ‘favour’. This is evident from the accreditation of the Commission as an ‘A’ status institution,” said Kalinde.

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She, however, said since 2012, when the Commission’s accreditation status was due for review, the Commission has consistently stayed on the course of constructive engagement with the international coordinating committee of national human rights institutions (ICC) of the UN ensuring implementation of its recommendations, in order for the Commission to retain its “A” status.

Kalinde said the process of the Commission’s accreditation is ongoing, and they sincerely hope for a positive result seeing that the Commission has undertaken almost all the necessary steps to comply with the internationally agreed standards for National Human Rights Institutions.

In a separate interview after the event, Kalinde said Malawi risks to lose this status if it will deviate from the course.

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“In this vein, we would like to specifically acknowledge the support and collaboration of the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and urge the Ministry to ensure that the necessary amendments to the Human Rights Commission Act are concluded and enacted into law,” she said.

UN Resident Coordinator Mia Seppo said the UN system recognises the commissioners for their hard work and steadfast dedication to the cause of human rights in Malawi.

“Implementing the ground breaking Gender Equality Act, in which the MHRC has a key role, is an opportunity to change attitudes and stereotypes that perpetuate discriminatory practices against women,” she observed.

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