Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu has asked civil society organisations (CSOs) to refrain from speaking against the ongoing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) inquiry.
The inquiry by the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has drawn negative reactions from human rights bodies and donors who have said rights of minorities should not be subjected to views of the majority.
But speaking at the swearing-in ceremony of Stella Twea as one of the members of Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), Tembenu said the issue of LGBTI rights was a matter that called for open debate.
“CSOs should stop questioning the work of MHRC and making negative comments about LGBTI rights. They should leave the commission to carry out its mandate,” he said.
Tembenu further said the comments that other CSOs are making show a worrying trend of misunderstanding of LGBTI rights.
However, in his speech MHRC executive secretary David Nungu said all views from different stakeholders are welcome.
“Our going out was to solicit views for the implementation of this activity and we regard all views from other stakeholders as input for us to finalise this inquiry. But let me say the inquiry is going on well so far,” he said.
MHRC is currently inquiring whether Malawi should respect LGBTI rights among them the legality of same-sex marriages.
Section 11 (d) of the Malawi Human Rights Commission Act of 1998, empowers the commission to make recommendations regarding human rights issues upon request by the government. n