Malawi on Wednesday took advantage of its maiden speech to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to call for fair and equitable access to the vaccine and resources in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking during the 46th Session of the Council in Geneva, Switzerland, which is the first for Malawi since its election to the Council last October, Justice Minister Titus Mvalo admitted the ravaging effects the virus continues to have on socio-economic being of Malawians.
He said to defeat the pandemic, the world needs a united effort in sharing expertise, knowledge and resources.
Said Mvalo: “The current Covid-19 pandemic—which has spared no people, no nation and no continent—is a gruesome reminder that we, indeed, are human beings with common frailties. To defeat this scourge, we need united effort in sharing expertise, knowledge and resources.
“Fighting the pandemic is a daunting task and collective efforts and solidarity is important. Fair and equitable access to the vaccine and resources would be important on the global level. In a quest to fight the pandemic, Malawi adopted restrictive measures in order to protect human rights and human health in declaring a State-of-National Disaster on January 12 2021 due to Covid-19.”
He said the pandemic has exposed Malawi’s vulnerable groups and that government is assessing its effects on the health, education, economy and the labour market, to identify reforms that it could undertake to stimulate the economy and protect livelihoods.
Mvalo also said Malawi is struggling with resurfaced attacks on persons with albinism, but was hopeful that firm a constitutional framework, a robust legal and judicial structure, a thriving civil society, determined law enforcers and a people driven for a better desire for a better future will help in the fight.
He promised that Lilongwe will clear treaty body reporting backlog with the UN by the end of this year.
Last Sunday, President Lazarus Chakwera indicated that the African Union’s Envoy on Africa’s Response to Covid-19 has guaranteed Malawi 100 000 vaccines for frontline health workers.
Chakwera said: “Although the delivery of that consignment has been delayed by seven days, we are on track to receive it by the end of this month, along with 1.5 million doses of the vaccine that we expect to receive around the same time.”
In a recent statement, the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) director of operations Christine Jamet said they were appalled by the inequitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines across the world.
While commending government on its appeal on Covid-19 and commitment in dealing with attacks against persons with albinism, the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) has also queried matters relating to attacks on the elderly and same-sex relationships.
CHRR executive director Michael Kaiyatsa expressed concerns in a statement that Mvalo decided to ignore attacks on people accused of witchcraft, which have claimed over 64 lives in the last two years alone, out of which 18 have died under the current Tonse Alliance administration.