The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has asked the Malawi Police Service (MPS) to fully adopt a recent court ruling to desist from detaining children in prisons.
Unicef chief child protection officer Afrooz Kavian Johnson made the remarks during the opening of a bi-annual workshop on child protection for police officers in Mponela, Dowa on Wednesday.
She said the court made it clear that children who had no liability against them should be transferred from Bvumbwe and Kachere prisons to safety homes while those with liability should be transferred to reformatory centres.
Said Johnson: “It is against this background that Unicef is [supporting the court determination] because detaining children in prison violates their rights and exposes them to many dangers, including becoming hardcore criminals.”
The workshop was aimed at taking stock of successes and challenges the MPS has recorded since January 2018 and to map the way forward to improve its efficiency.
Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) responsible for administration John Nyondo admitted that the institution has not done well on issues of child protection and gender-based violence (GBV).
He said: “We have not done well considering the increase in the number of registered cases of defilement and gender-based violence. This is our chance to reflect and make corrections.”
Nyondo said the MPS will take appropriate action on officers who do not follow the code of ethics and conduct as stipulated by the institution. n