Religious leaders in Malawi have a role to play in sensitising people on minority rights, human rights violations campaigners say.
The remarks were made by Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) board member, Charity Salima, during the opening of a human rights workshop for religious leaders organising by CHRR and the Centre for the Development of People (Cedep).
“Issues of sexual minorities are complex and it is good that religious leaders have availed themselves at this opportunity to learn different perspectives from experts and from each other and be able to formulate informed and rational opinions regarding this highly marginalised group living among us. This emphasises the role you have in sensitising people about ills of tramping upon minority rights,” said Salima.
She said the workshop was important because it is about lives of people. She further said it is about the injustices occasioned by Malawians on fellow Malawians without concern for their basic human rights; right to privacy, right to freedom of expression, freedom of association, the right to the highest standard of health and the right to be free from discrimination.
“It is about people who are forced to live underground to escape persecution, harassment, ridicule, violence, police arrests and imprisonment simply because of who they are and who they love. These are the groups that most of the times cannot defend themselves against violations of their rights,” she said.
One of the trainees, Reverend Ephraim Disi, said the training has been long overdue considering the misconceptions surrounding issues of sexual minority rights.