Malawi, which has stayed a record 16 years without submitting the State of Human Rights Report, is scheduled to present one at the United Nations Human Rights Commission this March.
During the session, it is expected that government and civil society representatives will quiz each other on human rights trends in the country.
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ephraim Mganda Chiume on Tuesday indicated he will be presenting the Malawi report, the first under President Bingu wa Mutharika, in Geneva, and that it will be inclusive of civil society and other players in the arena.
The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has said submission of the report would improve the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s image as being respectful of human rights and the rule of law as well as LilongweÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s obligations to conventions that it signed.
The killing of 20 anti-government protesters last year awakened Malawi as civil society reported to the UN human rights body. Government, in November, responded to several issues including awareness on human rights conventions and their application locally.
“The session is coming up in March and it will be open to everybody. The good part of it is that after presentation of the report which has not be done since 1995, anybody there will be able to ask questions to government which is not possible locally,” said Gift Trapence, executive director of the Centre for the Development of the People (Cedep).
He, alongside the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), recently reported government to the United Nations.
Chiume, in a separate interview, said his ministry is working on the State Party report which will reflect the current status of human rights in the country.
He said organisations such as the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and other groups will be asked for input on issues that they have raised in the past and come up with a common position on the same.
MHRC chairperson John Kapito said the commission has always submitted alternative reports in the absence of the State Party report which he said government could use as a spring board to coming up with the March report.