Human rights activists have expressed worry over continued delays by authorities to finalise appointments of commissioners of the taxpayer-funded Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) after some civil society organisations (CSOs) queried the procedure.
In August this year, President Peter Mutharika appointed seven MHRC commissioners—six men and one woman—following submission from stakeholders to his office. However, the activists accused the President of reportedly flouting the Gender Equality Act.
But the activists under Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC), at their meeting in Blantyre convened under the State of the Union (Sotu) Malawi Agenda, on Thursday expressed concern with the slowed MHRC operations due to lack of commissioners.
They observed that continued delays to set up a functional commission was impacting on people’s rights as several outstanding human rights cases were waiting for the commission determination.
“We want the body to start functioning so that people’s rights are protected. We are simply reminding government of its already made commitments and our concern with women representation in the commission,” Sotu coordinator Edward Chileka Banda told reporters.
In a statement issued and read by HRCC chairperson Robert Mkwezalamba at the end of their meeting, the activists also asked the NGO Board to avoid being influenced by politicians in its operations.