Malawi Law Society (MLS) says lack of knowledge and understanding of the law leaves the public in a vulnerable position as they are unable to utilise the available structures designed to help and protect them.
MLS president John Suzi-Banda said this in Thyolo on Friday when the society launched a year-long Human Rights Awareness and Legal Literacy Project designed to empower vulnerable groups with knowledge on human rights and laws.
The groups set to benefit from the programme, to be implemented with funding from the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (Osisa), include the poor, women, children and people living with disabilities.
Suzi-Banda said MLS will be raising the awareness about human rights and law by conducting a weekly radio programme, a weekly newspaper column and periodic legal clinics.
He said: “Every week Malawi Law Society will be hosting a radio programme titled Ticheze za Malamulo. This radio programme will be broadcast on Matindi and will take place every Wednesday from 7:15pm to 7:45pm. Members of the law society and other experts in the law will be discussing various legal matters and occasionally take questions from the audience via SMS.”
He said MLS will also be conducting legal clinics which will be carried out in two different ways.
“On the one hand, some members of the law society will make themselves available at the MLS secretariat on specific days on which the public will be invited to visit the secretariat to obtain free legal advice.
“On the other hand, other members of the law society will go out into various communities and will engage the relevant communities on various legal issues,” said Suzi-Banda.
Group village head Khwethemule commended MLS for the project, saying it will help people in his community and Malawians become aware of their human rights and the law in general.
“People in villages face a lot of problems because they do not know what to in their situations. For instance, people are being remanded in prisons for years without going for trial because they are not aware of what to do in that situation,” said Khwethemule.