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Peter Mutharika appoints new MHRC commissioners

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Malawi President Peter Mutharika has appointed new commissioners for the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) a month after terms of office for the fifth cohort expired on July 4, 2015.

A statement from the Commission says pursuant to Section 131 of the Republic of Malawi Constitution and Section 4 of the Human Rights Commission Act, the President has appointed the Sixth Cohort of Commissioners that will serve in this capacity in the next three years.

Meanwhile, human rights lawyer Justin Dzonzi, economists Dalitso Kubalasa and Steven Nkoka as well as education activist Benedicto Kondowe have been retained in the Commission from the previous cohorts while Baldwin Chiyamwaka, Bertha Sefu and Reverend Patrick Semphere have just been roped in.

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“The Commission commends government for the timely appointment of the 6th Cohort of Commissioners of the Malawi Human Rights Commission,” says MHRC Executive Secretary Grace Malera in the statement.

At a special event organised in honour of the previous commissioners last month, the then chairperson Ambassador Sophie Kalinde called on government to ensure that they help the incoming commissioners to maintain “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, MHRC has consistently stayed on the course of constructive engagement with the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of national human rights institutions of the UN ensuring implementation of its recommendations, in order for the Commission to retain its “A” status.

The new commissioners will be expected to elect their chairperson at their first meeting.

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