Media Advocates for the Advancement of Child Rights (MAACR) has asked the police and the courts to make sure that pupils arrested for protesting against suspension of classes due to the on-going teachers strike are protected.
This is coming at a time when Malawi joined the rest of the world in commemorating the Day of the African Child on 16 June.
This day was set aside in memory of students’ uprising in Soweto on 16 June 1976 when students who marched against poor quality of education were killed by the then apartheid regime.
Similar to what happened in South Africa, pupils from Balaka, Blantyre and Ntcheu were protesting against the suspension of classes by teachers and after the strikes turned violent, 9 pupils and over 20 third party elements were arrested.
Through a press statement released by the MAACR, the organisation has appealed to parties involved in the investigation, prosecution and publicity of the matter to exercise caution and make sure that they do not violate children’s rights.
The statement which has been signed by MAACR president Mallick Mnela urges Journalists to determine if the children said to have been in conflict with the law were subjected to preliminary inquiry with determination and whether the offence they committed should be dealt with by the criminal justice system or not.
The statement also calls on the police and the courts to determine if the children can be held criminally responsible for their actions and to make sure the pupils have legal representation.