Violence against women matter of high concern—UN
In the wake of damning reports by women of Msundwe, Mpingu and M’bwatalika against some police officers, United Nations office in Malawi says it is closely following the matter.
UN Resident Coordinator, Maria Jose Nacho says her organisation stands ready to continue working with all stakeholders in Malawi to ensure that there is zero tolerance to violence against women and girls.
“The UN welcomes the decision from Malawi Police Service to institute an inquiry team as detailed in the press statement published on October 17, this inquiry requires procedures to ensure that it is thorough, independent and impartial,” Nacho said.
Her statement comes after women in Lilongwe on Friday mobilised themselves to stage a solidarity march against sexual violence, particularly what happened at Msundwe and surrounding areas.
The march was aimed at sending a message against the vice as well as demanding justice on the acts of sexual violence, allegedly committed by Malawi Police against women and girls at Mpingu, Msundwe and M’bwatalika.
According to Nacho, Malawi Police Service is mandated by the Constitution to ensure public safety and rights of persons in Malawi and in fulfilling this duty, they must act with the highest degree of responsibility and ethics as required by their profession and in accordance with the law.
She said the allegations against the law enforcers are a matter of high concern.
She said should the allegations of sexual violence be confirmed, the police officers who have committed the criminal acts must be investigated and prosecuted in accordance with the law.
The UN says it is essential that victims are provided with special care without delay, with safe and confidential victim assistance, based on their needs and consent.
Most Non-Governmental organisations, including Plan Malawi, Save the Children, SOS Children’s Village, under the banner of Child rights network, have also condemned the police brutality.
The public was also not amused by the lukewarm response from the government, through Ministry of Gender, Chidren, Disability and Social Welfare.
However, minister responsible Mary Navicha has said action will be taken based on the investigation findings.
“We are working on it; action will be taken based on the findings,” Navicha said.
On October 8, police terrorised Msundwe, Mbwatalika and Mpingu areas after the death of their colleague, Superintendent Usuman Imedi, who was killed by a mob at Msundwe where people had blocked the Lilongwe- Mchinji road, to stop supporters of governing Democratic Progressive Party from attending the first rally by President Peter Mutharika in the capital city after the May 21 Tripartite Elections.