Submit detailed human rights reports, government told
Civil Society Organisations have urged government to ensure that reports it submits to international organisations on the state of human rights in the country are comprehensive.
Their comments come after government recently made submitted its report to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights of the African Union.
Justice Minister Samuel Tembenu made the presentation of the report before the commission which was followed by a series of questions by Commissioners of African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights.
The civil society was represented by Makhumbo Munthali of Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, Luke Tembo of Ipas Malawi, Chikondi Ngwira and Victor Mhango both of Chrea and Emma Kalea of Centre for Development of People.
Munthali said after a 26 years of non-compliance to its state obligations of reporting to African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, government made a historical turn up.
“So this year’s Malawi’s appearance before the commission for review of its report and its initial submission of the same in 2012 was a remarkable step, and partly a success of the civil society’s advocacy over the years for Malawi to start adhering to its obligations,” he said.
Munthali also added that Malawi’s initial report was reviewed on 28th April 2015.
The Commission was expected to share the concluding observations and recommendations for Malawi by May 7, 2015.
“We are still waiting for recommendations,” Munthali said.
One area which Munthali pointed out as requiring detailed explanation was on the progress of several deaths allegedly perpetrated by police officers.
In the report, government conceded that indeed the police shot and killed over 20 people on July 20, 2011 during the nationwide demonstrations organised by CSOs.
“In the aftermath, government instituted a Commission of Inquiry which started its work in late 2011 and presented its findings in June 2012.
The Commission established that a total number of 20 people died as a result of the public disorder,” the report states which acknowledges that the police used excessive force.
“The Commission recommended that the Executive must ensure that police officers who were responsible for the deaths and injuries are thoroughly investigated and prosecuted where unlawful conduct is established; this process is still ongoing,” the report states.
In 2011, the report further acknowledges that Robert Chasowa, a student at the Polytechnic College of the University of Malawi, in Blantyre, was found dead in mysterious circumstances.
According to the report, Commission of Inquiry was set up to establish the cause of his death and presented its report to the President on 9 October 2012 with the finding that Chasowa was murdered and recommended criminal investigations and prosecution of several individuals. The report also says this process is still ongoing.
In late January 2012, the report further states that Edson Msiska, a student at the Natural Resources College in Lilongwe, died in police custody in Mzuzu and that an internal inquiry set up by the Inspector General of Police has concluded that he was beaten to death by officers. The officers alleged to have caused the death were identified and arrested. Trial commenced in 2012 and is yet to be concluded.
“Our expectations was that government would also provide clear concrete steps being taken to come to the bottom of the mysterious death of student activists Robert Chasowa, the mysterious death of Kalonga Stambuli and July 20 saga,” Munthali said the continued delays in state’s prosecution and investigations into these murders remain a concern to every patriotic loving Malawian.
“We commend the professional conduct of Malawi police,” he said.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues