The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) has reported to foreign missions based at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland such as Norway about the ‘shoot-to-kill’ orders which police is implementing on robbery suspects and also asked the missions to impress on Malawi to find other measures of protecting people with albinism.
The report and the request were made during a United Nations human rights universal periodic review mechanism pre-session meeting which ended on Friday.
CHRR has joined Malawi Law Society (MLS) to condemn remarks which the Inspector General of Police Lexten Kachama made, saying: “I am ordering the police to use weapons in proportion to the gravity of the offence” and not “soft weapons” like tear gas.
About 193 countries under the United Nations will next month review Malawi’s human rights record of the past five years under the Universal Periodic Review mechanism.
Speaking after meeting Erling Hoem, first secretary of the Norway Mission in Geneva, CHRR executive director Timothy Mtambo said his organisation has noted with growing concern incidents of police shooting suspected criminals before they undergo trial.
“In the past months police have used extreme measures and violence to subdue suspected criminals and killing them on the spot. This is tantamount to a violation of the right to life and risks destroying evidence which could help the police find solutions to insecurity. Killing abductors of people with albinism is not the solution, we have the justice system which is responsible for meting out justice, not the police,” said Mtambo.
He added that the statement made by the police IG is not fit for a democratic society like ours.
“It [statement] should be condemned. People with albinism should be protected and government should put in place security measures to protect them, not killing suspects. Every person is innocent until proven guilty,” he said.
The Norway representative said he would report the issues to his government and mission office in Lilongwe, who will assist in drafting statements and sending advance questions to the Malawi Government before the May gathering.
Hoem disclosed that the Norway Parliament is currently discussing a white paper on human rights, where Malawi is one of 12 focus countries.
Mtambo also recommended to 50 foreign missions that the Malawi Government should prosecute alleged perpetrators of extra-judicial killings and expeditiously complete investigations and compensation of victims and families of the July 20 2011 killings of 20 Malawians.
Mtambo, who is part of a five-member delegation of civil society organisations (CSOs) who took part in the pre-session meeting of the Universal Periodic Review in Geneva, also recommended that Malawi Government should operationalise the Independent Complaints Commission established through the Police Act to enable Malawians to report cases of unprofessional conduct by the police and investigate cases of extra-judicial killings.
Apart from making statements before the foreign missions, CSOs held interface meetings with Norway, United States of America, United Kingdom, Spain and Mexico, among others.