Malawi’s Institute for Policy Interaction (IPI) says there is need for authorities all over the world to take a leading role in promoting human rights by ensuring that basic services are available to all human beings including the vulnerable.
This has been said during the commemoration of 2015 Human Rights Day under the theme “Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always.”
IPI has also described the day as momentous for both ordinary citizens and authorities across the global.
Chairperson for IPI, Dr Nandini Patel, told Malawi24 in an interview that the day has significance for all people all over the world including Malawians because the International Bill of Rights, comprising the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Covenants on Civil and Political and Economic, Social, cultural Rights, have had a profound impact on the section of human rights in democratic constitutions.
“This in turn has paved way for constitutional bodies and civil society organizations to play a pivotal role as watchdog bodies safeguarding people’s rights as well as the democratic order,” she said.
Patel, however, explained that the challenges arising out of wide economic inequalities, structural development challenges coupled with entrenched corruption and weak accountability mechanism leaves out a sizeable section of the population from accessing basic amenities of life in Malawi.
She added that the theme adopted by Malawi for this year’s commemoration – “Holding Duty Bearers to Account” – stimulates authorities to act accordingly to the best of their roles.
She said: “The theme chosen by Malawi “Holding Duty Bearers to Account” is pertinent at this juncture as enforcement of accountability of those wielding authority is vital to make basic services available to all and particularly the vulnerable.”
This year’s Human Rights Day is devoted to the launch of a yearlong campaign for the 50th anniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966.
The two Covenants, together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, form the International Bill of Human Rights, setting out the civil, political, cultural, economic, and social rights that are the birth right of all human beings.