Five Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Malawi have demanded that government should consider decongesting the country’s prisons as a way of preventing COVID-19 spread to men, women and children behind the bars.

The five CSOs stated this through their joint statement released on Friday.

The CSOs include Paralegal Advisory Service Institute (PASI), Saint Egidio, REPRIEVE, Irish Rule of Law, and Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA).

“We commend the swift action to organize camp courts across the country. Magistrates should recognize that these courts operate in extraordinary circumstances, and that the primary focus is to reduce prison overcrowding, as quickly as possible,” reads part of the statement.

The CSOs have condemned lack of corona virus prevention tools in the prisons.

“The Government recommends hand-washing stations, but cell blocks still lack even the most basic sanitation and hygiene facilities, such as buckets and soap. In such conditions, an outbreak of COVID-19 could prove impossible to contain,” reads further the statement.

The CSOs’ have suggested the government should release the inmates over the age 55, children, women with children and prisoners with pre-existing medical conditions.

Malawi is one the countries in the world that has not registered a case of the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed lives of thousands around the globe.

So far, Authorities have enforced safety measures as a way of ensuring that its citizens are safe from the virus.

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