Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and the Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP) have disclosed that the suspected gay beaten recently in the capital Lilongwe was not beaten by irate mob after disclosing his status as earlier reported.

The social media on Monday 9th February 2016 that Kelvin Gonani had been subjected to a homophobic attack in Lilongwe by some unknown assailants.

The development attracted mixed reactions from Malawians with others applauding those people who administered mob justice on the suspect, saying same sex marriages in the country is ungodly and is not supposed to be tolerated.

But in a statement co-jointly signed by CHRR Executive Director Timothy Mtambo and Cedep Executive Director Gift Trapence said there investigations on the matter has revealed Kelvin Gonani was not beaten because of his sexual orientation; rather he was beaten by some members of the LGBT community for offering his nephew for prostitution.

Despite commending the LGBT members for administering mob justice on Gonani, CHRR and Cedep urge the LGBT community, and the rest of society, to desist from taking the law into their own hands.

“Mob justice is illegal. If anyone has reason to believe that an individual has committed a crime, we encourage that individual to report to the nearest police station or relevant authority. No one has the right to lynch or abuse any suspected criminal. Every criminal suspect has a right to fair trial in a court of competent jurisdiction as enshrined in the Malawi Constitution,” reads in part the statement.

CHRR and Cedep have urged the Police to investigate Mr. Gonani, saying alleged sexual abuse and exploitation of the child is extremely serious and worrisome accusation.

“Much as we are interested in the promotion equal rights and social justice in Malawi, we at CHRR and CEDEP do not condone any sexual abuse of children.

“This is why we are calling for Mr Gonani to be promptly investigated and, if it is established that he indeed sexually exploited the child, he must be prosecuted. Sexual abuse of children is not only illegal in this country but is also unacceptable and should not be condoned or go unpunished,” reads the statement.

Added the statement: “It is, however, important to be clear that sexual abuse of children has nothing to do with gay rights. Gay rights concern consensual sex between adults. In other words, none of the people involved are below the legal age for having sex, and all of them agree to what they are doing. Forced sex (rape) and sex with children (defilement) both violate the sexual rights of the victim, whether the perpetrator is of the same or opposite sex as the victim. It is important to be clear that sexual abuse of children is perpetrated by people who are known as paedophiles. Paedophiles can be heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual.”

Meanwhile CHRR and Cedep have urged the society to do more to protect children from sexual abuse by adults, whether those adults are homosexual or heterosexual.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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