Malawi quizzed on anti-gay laws

Malawi presented its report on human rights to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) working group on Tuesday but faced questions on whether it would consider reviewing its homosexual laws.

After Minister of Justice Titus Mvalo presented his report, a representative of Germany at the UPR session asked if the Tonse Alliance administration will consider reviewing laws concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex (LGBTI) persons.

“What efforts does the government undertake to promote acceptance of LGBTI persons within society?”  the representative asked.

A representative of the United States (US) also asked a similar question saying: “Will Malawi take steps to decriminalize LGBTI status and conduct?” quizzed the representative?”

Presenting the report, Justice Minister Titus Mvalo said same-sex marriages are still considered illegal in the country but the Malawi Human Rights Commission would undertake a study on legalization of the gay marriages.

Germany after the presentation commended Malawi for improving access to health services, protection of children, continued efforts to end human trafficking and among others.

Ghana commended the country for showing commitment in child labour, protection children, elderly, people with disability.

Some countries asked Malawi to speed up the issue of Msundwe rapes as it involves violation of human rights of vulnerable people who are women and girls and to end sexual abuse.

Kaiyatsa

In his remarks, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) Acting Executive Director Michael Kaiyatsa said Malawi should take the recommendations at heart to ensure that human rights are protected failure which it will show that Malawi does not respect human rights.

“We want Malawi to remove law of death penalty completely because it is viewed in compliance with human rights standards. On the issue of Msundwe saga, it shows that the world is watching. We are therefore asking government to handle this matter with care by making sure that justice is served for this case. Government need to is to speed up the prosecution of those that were arrested,” he said.

Following the presentation, the United Nations UPR working group is going to submit to Malawi an initial report and then based on that report Malawi will either accept recommendations that have been made or reject or note them.

The preliminary report is going to released by 6th November and Malawi has to respond by 20th of November.

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