President Peter Mutharika says his government will ensure that human rights organisations are adequately funded and offer more quality discussions with them because the institutions provide vital checks and balances in running the country.
Mutharika said this when he received in audience a seven-member delegation of the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Monday ahead of the International Human Rights Day today (December 10).
Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister George Chaponda and MHRC chairperson Sophie Kalinde outlined the President’s sentiments in a media briefing after the MHRC delegation met Mutharika in camera for over an hour.
Said Chaponda: “The President responded immediately to the challenges the human rights commissioners reported to be facing in their work, including under-funding and limited operational capacity. He said he will ensure that, in the 2014/15 budget, adequate funding is given to these organisations, whose leaders he offered to interact with more, by meeting them at least twice a year.”
In her remarks, Kalinde said her delegation maintained the MHRC tradition of not sugar-coating issues presented to a sitting President.
She recalled that last year, the delegation’s brief included sensitive issues such as rotting corpses at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe [after mortuary coolers packed up], people in long queues for maize at Admarc depots and a lack of drugs in many hospitals.
Said Kalinde: “Today, we gave the President a comprehensive and candid briefing on the human rights situation in our country and even on other critical issues like Malawi’s challenges in the education, health and economic sectors.
“It was not a one-sided brief, for we also pointed out, and commended government, where things are going on well.”
In a brief welcome address, Mutharika said he greatly values the dialogue with the human rights commissioners who should continue working within their constitutional rights and without any hindrance. n