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‘More people aware of human rights’

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MSAKA— We have scored significantly well

The rate of knowledge acquisition on basic human rights and freedoms has doubled in the past seven years, according to the 2018 Justice and Democratic Accountability Survey.

This is because, in the 2011 Justice Baseline Survey, only 45.8 percent of the population professed knowledge in human rights issues.

“About 90.7 percent of all respondents are aware of their basic human rights and freedoms. Urban residents are more knowledgeable about human rights than rural residents (96.0 versus 90.1 percent), respectively,’’ the study findings read.

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The study, which the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs conducted with funds from the European Union (EU) through the Chilungamo Programme, also sheds light on knowledge levels at regional level.

For example, it indicates that awareness levels are highest in the Northern Region at 97.8 percent, followed by the Southern, Central administrative regions at 93.6 percent and 90.4 percent, respectively.

At political region level, knowledge levels in the eastern part of the country stand at 81.7 percent.

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Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Bright Msaka, speaking at the unveiling of the findings in Lilongwe, said increased knowledge levels would lead to reduced cases of human rights violations.

“The report shows that we have scored significantly well in key democracy indicator areas of human rights, rule of law and accountability.

“It is, therefore, not surprising that, by independent international assessment, Malawi has been ranked shoulder-to-shoulder with the safest and best democracies on our continent,’’ Msaka said.

Chilungamo Programme Team Leader, Sophie Racine, said one of the findings is that commonly reported issues to the formal justice system include marital disputes followed by property theft and land disputes.

“One of the findings of the study is that there are some institutions that are doing less well; so, there is need to strategise on this,’’ she said.

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