The United Nations has welcomed the decision by the Malawi government to drop criminal charges leveled against gay men arrested earlier this month.

The Police arrested Cuthbert Kulemeka and Kelvin Gonani (37) two weeks ago for allegedly having sex with each and they were charged with sodomy which attract 14 years imprisonment with hard labour.

The arrest did not go down well with donors who started pressuring the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime under President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika to immediate release the two unconditionally.

Due to this pressure, the government of Malawi through Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu released a statement on Saturday, saying charges leveled against two gay men have been dropped and imposed a moratorium.

Commending the decision, UN through a statement seen by FaceofMalawi urged the government to put in place stronger measures with the Malawi Police Service to ensure that the moratorium is not violated.

“In line with the commitment of the Government to the UN Human Rights Committee in 2014, the UN is looking forward to the expeditious review of Malawi’s penal code of Malawi in line with international human rights law and avails itself to offer any support that is required in this regard,” reads in part the statement.

In the statement, UN has also condemned the violence and humiliation meted out to the two men and the hateful and vitriolic language that ensued once the story broke in the media.

“None of these are considered the tenets of Malawian culture and tradition and cannot be justified as such.

“Malawi is a country which is espoused and admired as the “Warm Heart of Africa”. It is our hope that this incident will open the doors for a transformational dialogue on human rights, tolerance and peaceful co-existence, regardless of one’s sex, gender, age or sexual orientation,” reads the statement.

Meanwhile Catholic church in the country has condemned same sex marraiges in the country, saying it’s a sin against God.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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