With Homophobia and violence on rise
By Melanie Nathan September 26, 2014.
On 7th September 2014, Professor Peter Mutharika clocked 100 days of in office , and as a tradition as well as in fulfillment of its human rights and watchdog obligation, The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) partnered with Centre for Development of People (Cedep) to provide an assessment of Mutharika’s performance, in the first 100 days of office, from a human rights perspective. The report was issued on 8th September 2014.
Here is an excerpt from CHRR and Cedep, reflecting their assessment for the first 100 days of Mutharika’s governance in Malawi. The full report provides a picture on the current socio- political context in Malawi following Mutharika’s ascendance to power. CHRR asserts it will continue to play its watchdog role in the best interest of all.
Silence on sexual minority rights, a sad draw-back
What has riled CHRR and Cedep even more in the first 100 days of APM is his decision to sit on fence on sexual minority rights issues. It’s an indisputable fact that sexual minorities in the country keep suffering different forms of violations such as loss of lives, homes, property, jobs, business, excommunication from churches as well as being denied access to other social services.
This growing homophobia against the sexual minorities has made them go underground in silence, feeling unMalawian in their own country.
CHRR and Cedep, expected the President to be a father-figure enough and institute measures aimed at protecting the sexual minorities.
Unfortunately, our learned President has opted for silence when some Malawians suffer based on their sexual orientation. We at CHRR and Cedep would also like to caution the President against resorting to a strange way of subjecting sexual minority rights to a referendum as suggested by the DPP during the campaign period. We strongly believe such a move smacks of hypocrisy of the highest proportions as issues of human rights cannot be subjected popular vote. Democracy is about majority rule that protects and safeguards the interest of minorities.
Arthur Peter Mutharika (born 1940) is a Malawian politician, educator and lawyer who has been President of Malawi since 31 May 2014. Mutharika has worked in the area of international justice internationally. He is an expert on international economic law, international law and comparative constitutional law. He informally served as an adviser to his older brother, President Bingu wa Mutharika, on issues of foreign and domestic policy from the onset of his election campaign until the President’s death on 5 April 2012. He has also held positions as Minister of Justice and later as Minister for Education, Science and Technology. Mutharika also served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2011 to 2012. He was charged to help bridge relations between Malawi and the United Kingdom due to the deterioration of public diplomacy between the two nations after the Chocrane-Dyet controversy. Mutharika received his law degree from the University of London in 1965. He is a member of the DPP party in Malawi. In May 2009, he was elected to the Malawian Parliament.
Some believed that Mutharika had assumed American citizenship while in the USA. Malawi’s laws do not allow dual citizenship and it is widely speculated that he obtained US citizenship whilst living in the US and that he had renounced his Malawian citizenship as is required by law. However, the US embassy in Lilongwe confirmed that he is not a citizen but a greencard holder. The ruling DPP has stated that Mutharika is a Malawian citizen and would run for president as a Malawian citizen and not an American one. There was controversy that, as the holder of a US Greencard, he owes an allegiance to the United States. Therefore, people on the street are of the view that a nation cannot be run by someone who will be spending the minimum of three months in the US annually required to retain permanent resident status. In February 2014, he relinquished his green card and permanent resident status.
See Full Report:
The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation contribute towards the protection, promotion and consolidation of good governance by empowering rural and urban communities in Malawi to be aware of and exercise their rights through research, advocacy and net-working in order to realize human development.