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Malawi refuses (again) to submit their human rights report to the UN for 20July deaths

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Despite President Mutharika’s on-going attacks on members of civil society and on the media, human rights organizations in Malawi including CEDEP and CHRR continue to work towards exposing human rights violations committed by the State. The human rights activists heading CEDEP and CHRR have faced death threats because of their work.
The shadow report highlights human rights violations committed by the State of Malawi. For instance:
On 20th and 21st July 2011, the Malawi security forces killed eighteen unarmed individuals who were attempting to exercise their right to peacefully assemble in opposition to the government.
There have been complaints of torture in numerous police stations across Malawi. While NGOs and lawyers periodically access and monitor detention facilities, they are powerless to influence the treatment of the individuals incarcerated.
The President’s Administration attempts to distract attention from its failure to respect the rule of law by blaming vulnerable groups, including LGBT people.
There is a sustained attack on press freedom in Malawi. During the 19th and 20th of July 2011 demonstrations, a total of twenty-two journalists were beaten and assaulted by the Malawi Police Service.
Two journalists were arrested and spent several days in custody. Most journalists had their cameras confiscated, broken and their writing materials thrown away. One photo-journalist was hospitalised for seven days because of the serious head injuries he suffered as a result
The NGO shadow report offers eighteen recommendations for actions that should be taken to bring the State of Malawi in compliance with its treaty obligations. Those recommendations include the right to peaceful assembly, the right to fair trial, the right to free speech, the need to decriminalize homosexuality, the need to equalize rights for men and women, and the need to conduct immediate and impartial investigations into the July 2011 attacks on civilians and journalists that hold state violators accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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