Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has called upon the Inspector General of Police to discipline Police officers who have been torturing Malawians in the course of enforcing COVID-19 guidelines.
In a statement signed by HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence, the organisation said it has received numerous reports from across the country on how the Police are torturing people in the country by physically assaulting those that have not been adhering to the restrictions, especially not wearing face masks and disregarding the 8pm curfew at drinking places.
Trapence noted that if such behavior from the police is not checked it will result into the Police losing public trust.
He suggested that while the Police is mandated to enforce the law, they should also be reminded of the guidelines within the law and in respect of human rights principles.
“These rights are enshrined in both our Republican Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Malawi is a signatory.
“HRDC would like to remind the Malawi Police Service that Malawi is a Democratic country and is not a Police state,” he said.
He said despite the ravaging impact of the Coronavirus, Malawi remains a country of laws and it is important that these laws are respected while people double their efforts in the fighting against this pandemic.
He went on to say that Malawi Police Service should be aware that when President Lazarus Chakwera declared a State of Disaster following alarmingly rising numbers of Covid-19 cases, that did not mean that the rule of law has been suspended.
“That said, as Malawians, we trust in the ability of the Police to keep the citizens safe and secure and we would thus call on them to enforce the COVID 19 guidelines in line with other existing laws of this country,” said Trapence.