Activists welcome penal code amendment


Child Rights Activists have hailed President Lazarus Chakwera for signing into law the bill that sets age of a child at 18 and that will see those involved in raping or defiling children liable to life imprisonment.

Child Rights Activists Amos Chibwana and Memory Ngosi Chisenga have hailed President Lazarus Chakwera for assenting to the penal code amendment bill.

Under the law, those involved in raping or defiling children under 18 are liable to life imprisonment and activists say this move will promote child rights by sending a strong warning to those attempting to do these malpractices.

The amendment also decriminalizes consensual sex between adolescents whose age difference is two years.

The amendment made to penal code also indicate that a child is person under the age of 18. Previously, a child was a person under 16 years and the amendment has brought to an end the confusion of who really is a child.

“First, let me commend the previous parliamentary sitting for seeing it right to discuss this issue and for his excellency to assent into law the amendment bill that was passed. We have been fighting for the harmonisation of this law because these laws especially on the age limit of the child were not talking to each other “

“What the constitution and child care protection justice act of 2010 says about the age of a child was different from what the penal code section 138 was saying and it was giving a lot of headache to our magistrates as well as judges to ensure that child justice has been attained,” said Chibwana.

He further said that life in imprisonment for those convicted for raping and defiling children is a stiff punishment that will send a strong warning for those attempting to conduct this malpractises hence it will help in dealing with these cases in the country.

Conquering with Chibwana, another child rights activist Chisenga, said this move will help in promoting child rights but she was quick to urge the judiciary not to be selective when applying the law on culprits found on the wrong side of the law.

Cases of rape of of children are common in Malawi and culprits usually include stepfathers, biological and neighbours of children.

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