Civil Society Organizations have asked government to adopt the 2016 National Human Rights Action National Plan as a way of complying with Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for Malawi.
Acting Executive Director for Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) Michael Kaiyatsa said this on Thursday at the end of two a day workshop on strategy and implementation of Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Recommendations for Malawi that started on Wednesday end on Thursday at Linde Motel Mponela in Dowa.
The UPR is a unique process that involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States where Civil Society Organizations are required to point out issues that members of state should be aware of make recommendations .
CHRR, CEDEP and CIVICUS made a joint submission to the UN UPR for the 36th session of the UPR Working Group.
Speaking with reporters, Kaiyatsa said that the National Plan on Human Rights has been at cabinet level as such the organizations want government to implement it so that it can be in action.
He added also pointed out security to journalists, witchcraft act, access to information as some of areas that government need to review and comply with.
“In terms of recommendations that government received in 2015, it shows that there is an improvement in terms of compliance. We have marriage law in place but also the harmonisation of the marriage age. l think we have made very good progress on that, we have seen that parliament has moved in to raise minimum age of marriage to 18,” he said.
National Coordinator for Human Rights and Girls with Disability Stella Mkhonyachisangwala said they want to hold government accountable to review safe and reproductive health policy and Disability Right act.
Mkhonyachisangwala expressed concern over increase of cases of rape of girls with disabilities and noted that citizens should be civic-educated on the rights of girls with disabilities.
In their submission, the three organizations examined the Government of Malawi’s compliance with its international human rights obligations to create and maintain a safe and enabling environment for civil society, specifically on civic space and human rights themes.
Specifically, the organizations analyzed Malawi’s fulfilment of the rights to the freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression, and unwarranted restrictions on human rights defenders (HRDs) since its previous UPR examination in 5 May 2015.
To this end, the organizations assessed Malawi’s implementation of recommendations received during the 2nd UPR cycle relating to these issues and made a number of recommendations.