United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) has urged the Malawi government to engage in dialogue with organisers of post-election protests in order to end violence.
In a statement signed by UNHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville, the body has expressed concern over the heightening political turmoil.
Malawians across the country have been protesting against the disputed presidential elections in May in which Democratic Progressive Party’s Peter Mutharika emerged victorious.
The international body is concerned with violence which is coming in the name of peaceful demonstrations. Some protesters and security personnel have lost their lives in the aftermath due to violence.
According to Colville, the government and other concerned parties should engage in a peaceful dialogue, otherwise the situation will get worse.
“We urge the Government and other relevant actors to urgently engage in a genuine and meaningful dialogue to address the political, social and economic grievances of the population, and reduce tensions. Otherwise, there is a serious risk the situation will spiral out of control,” reads the statement in part.
The global body has also advised both protesters and security officers to refrain from going off-key during demonstrations. Protesters are being advised to observe peace in the exercise of their rights while security officers should use means which match the situation, in their service.
“We urge demonstrators to express their grievances peacefully, without resorting to violence. We also remind the authorities that the use of force during demonstrations should only be applied in exceptional circumstances, in accordance with applicable international human rights norms and standards, including the principles of legality, necessity and proportionality.”
The demonstrations in challenge of the outcome of the May presidential results rolled off soon after the results were announced that month. The organising party, Human Rights Defenders Coalition, is demanding the resignation of the Chairperson of Malawi Electoral Commission Dr Jane Ansah.
The presidential results are also being challenged in court by United Transformation Movement’s leader Saulos Chilima and Malawi Congress Party’s Lazarus Chakwera.