Malawi is standing at the crossroads in the promotion of human rights as civil society organisations (CSO) leaders continue to bemoan human rights violations perpetrated especially on the majority poor in the country.
Human rights defenders and law experts have been weighing in their views on remarks made by the Director of Political Affairs at the African Union Commission (AUC) on Human and Peoples Rights Khabele Matlosa this week that AU will intervene whenever States are violating rights of their citizens.
He said AUC had abandoned the now defunct Organisation of African Unity policy of non interference into State affairs.
In an e-mailed response, the Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (Chreaa) executive director Victor Mhango on Thursday said Malawi was setting a bad example by pinning its poor citizens to the wall in violation of their rights.
He said: “The state of human rights in the country is in a dire condition and definitely not ideal. The country has a lot of areas where human rights are neglected purposely or violated by those in power because the country lacks transparent checks and balances.”
Mhango cited arbitrary arrests and beatings of some street vendors, demonstrators, social media users, sex workers and mistreatment of prisoners, among other issues of concern, which Malawi has to address with speed.
The African Court for Human and Peoples Rights (AfCHPR) is currently holding the 5th High Level Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Africa in Arusha, Tanzania themed on trends, challenges and prospects for the future. n