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UN to scrutinise Malawi’s human rights record

By Isaac Salima:

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Malawi’s human rights record will today be scrutinised by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group in Geneva, Switzerland.

A statement from UN Malawi indicates that this will be the third time for Malawi’s human rights record to be examined. Malawi’s first and second UPR reviews took place in November 2010 and May 2015, respectively.

The statement adds that Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Titus Mvalo is expected to head Malawi’s delegation.

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The UN says reviews are based on information provided by the State under review. Other sources are reports of independent human rights experts and groups, known as the Special Procedures, human rights treaty bodies and other UN entities.

The UPR Working Group would also review information provided by stakeholders such as human rights institutions, regional organisations and civil society groups.

The three country representatives serving as rapporteurs (troika) for the review of Malawi are Argentina, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Marshall Islands.

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Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) acting Executive Director, Michael Kaiyatsa, said the review was an opportunity for Malawi to address human rights violations in the country.

Kaiyatsa said, since the last review of Malawi’s human rights record in May 2015, cases of human rights violations had increased.

“We have witnessed, for instance, a rise in cases of extra judicial killings, including killing of Issa Njaunju, Buleya Lule, persons with albinism, increasing cases of torture by police and attacks on journalists and human rights defenders.

“The UPR is an opportunity for UN member states to contribute to reversing these trends and promoting respect for human rights in Malawi,” Kaiyatsa said.

Kaiyatsa said this was especially important because Malawi would from January next year become a member of the UN Human Rights Council.

The UPR is a unique process which involves a periodic review of human rights records of 193 UN Member States.

Since its first meeting in April 2008, all 193 UN member States have been reviewed twice within the first and second UPR cycles.

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