Tax payer-funded Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) says the country is faring badly on social and economic rights as many people are becoming poorer.
Outgoing MHRC chairperson Justin Dzonzi, who is a human rights lawyer, made the assessment as the three-year term for the commission’s cohort of 10 commissioners was coming to the end.
New commissioners are expected to be appointed once a recruitment process is concluded.
Said Dzonzi: “We are doing reasonably well at the international level on civil and political rights. But Malawi has struggled on social and cultural rights and we are worse off in some situations.”
He said it was high time Malawians were empowered to demand their social and cultural rights.
Dzonzi expressed joy that the commission has been instrumental in facilitating national discussions and embracing the Access to Information (ATI) Act, which is awaiting enforcement.
In his remarks, Civil Society Education Coalition (Csec) executive director Benedicto Kondowe, who is also one of the outgoing MHRC commissioners, observed that the country’s educational standards have dwindled over the past decades.
He said: “Although we have done well on civil and political rights, we are far behind on social and economic rights as people are still poor.”
According to a recent United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report, poverty in the country has worsened compared to other countries in the African region, a development commissioners said is an infringement of people’s social and cultural rights.