Compulsory vaccination is a violation of human rights – Malawi Human Rights Commission


Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has opposed Malawi Government’s plan to introduce mandatory Covid-19 vaccination saying compulsory jabs violate fundamental human rights.

The MHRC released a statement yesterday following government’s announcement that it will introduce mandatory vaccination for civil servants, frontline workers, drivers and journalists.

In the statement, MHRC chairperson Scader Louis said vaccinations must be based on the recipient’s free and informed consent. She added that international law provides strong indications that the right not to be subjected to medical treatment is an absolute right that cannot be limited.

Louis further said that the Government should consider both individual human rights and collective rights and strike a fair balance between them.

“The commission is not support of mandatory Covid-19 vaccination as it violates fundamental human rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi and other international human rights instruments, even if the issue of public rights is brought into the equation

“While the commission has always supported voluntary vaccination, it is of the view that the public by now should be able to assess the benefits for itself in being vaccinated, and should weigh these benefits against defending their rights,” she said.

She then advised government to maintain its position that Covid-19 vaccination is voluntary and to embark on a massive public education campaign to address myths related to Covid-19 vaccines so that members of the general public can make informed decisions.

“The strategy should aim at making as many people as possible to access vaccination services voluntarily, and not by coercion,” said Louis.

In Malawi, 1,015,728 and 374,809 people have received the first dose and second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine respectively whilst 283,841 have received Johnson and Johnson. Cumulatively, 658,650 people are fully vaccinated.

Last week, Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo expressed concern that the majority of the Malawi population remains and is unwilling to be vaccinated.

She said this has left them without protection against COVID-19, which in the long run is  counter-productive.

Malawi Govt. to introduce mandatory vaccination for civil servants