The Malawi Human Rights Council (MHRC) has bemoaned ‘serious’ lack of funding, a situation which it says compromises its mandate to promote, protect and investigate human rights violations across the country.
The commission has since pleaded with Members of Parliament (MPs) to help lobby for its increased funding to enable it discharge its functions effectively.
MHRC executive secretary Grace Malera lodged the complained to Members of Parliament in Lilongwe last week during an interactive dialogue that MHRC organised with the MPs.
“Since the establishment of MHRC, government funding has minimally been increasing. However, the total annual funding has been grossly inadequate for the effective functioning of MHRC,” said Malera.
She said for the past four financial years, Other Recurrent Transactions (ORT) funding has remained within the range of K35 million (about $90 000) to K38 million (about $97 435) which she said translates into K2.5 million (about $6 010) every month.
Commenting on the implication of the institution’s under-funding, she said MHRC barely meets utility costs such as water, electricity,, security and phone bills, fuel, maintenance of motor vehicles, purchase of equipment and hardly meets the costs for implementation of human rights promotion and protection activities.
Malera also lamented that MHRC is not well positioned to promptly respond to emergency human rights issues in the wake of low funding levels.
MHRC, according to Malera, last procured vehicles in the year 2009.
“In light of the financial challenges that MHRC faces, MHRC would like to seek the support of Parliament to ensure that the organisation receives adequate funding to enable it discharge its functions effectively,” she added.
During the meeting, most legislators expressed shock over poor funding to MHRC.
MHRC was set up in 1998 and became operational in 1999 under section 129 of constitution.
It is mandated to promote and protect human rights while investigating human rights violations.